South African President Cyril Ramaphosa repeated his call to the United States and its allies to lift sanctions imposed against neighbouring Zimbabwe.
The United States and the European Union (EU) imposed sanctions on Zimbabwean firms and officials linked to the ruling ZANU PF at the turn of the millennium following the fast track land reform programme that was marred by “gross” violation of human rights.
Zimbabwe was suspended from the Commonwealth of Nations and had its lines of credit at international financial institutions frozen.
Ramaphosa said on Thursday:
We also call for a lifting of sanctions that are crippling Zimbabwe and crippling its economy.
Ramaphosa’s call comes just over a month after the Southern African Development Community (SADC) appealed to the international community to unconditionally scrap sanctions against Zimbabwe.
SADC said Zimbabwe had already opened a new page with the coming in of the new government led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, and was ready to move forward.
The African Union (AU) has also called for sanctions to be lifted, but the SADC has been the most vocal bloc in demanding their removal.
In 2019, the SADC declared October 25 as the ‘SADC Anti-sanctions Day’, on which member states would collectively call for the unconditional lifting of illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe.
A number of countries outside Africa, such as Russia, Venezuela and Iran, have also rallied against the West in calling for the lifting of the sanctions.
Meanwhile, some human rights defenders in the country and the opposition, as well as Western powers, argue that Zimbabwe needs to implement reforms aimed at enhancing democracy for sanctions to be removed.
The ruling ZANU PF argues that sanctions were imposed to champion the regime change agenda.