Zimbabwean Sanctions Now Hurting South Africa, Region - Ramaphosa Tells United Nations

Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa, addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-eighth session, September 19, 2023.
20 September 2023

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has once again called for the unconditional removal of Western sanctions on Zimbabwe, which he claims are now negatively affecting his country.

Speaking at the ongoing United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, Ramaphosa, who has stood by his neighbour since taking over power in 2018, said sanctions were hurting Southern Africa's economic prospects.

"The sanctions that are also being applied against South Africa's neighbour Zimbabwe should be lifted as they are imposing untold suffering on ordinary Zimbabweans," said Ramaphosa.

"They also have a collateral negative impact on neighbouring countries, such as my own country, South Africa."

Zimbabwe has been under targeted restrictions since late President Robert Mugabe's chaotic land reform programme that the West heavily criticised.

The act of taking back land from white farmers, failure to repay World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans, and a worsening human rights record resulted in the much-talked-about sanctions.

An economic meltdown ate into savings, devalued salaries, and left Zimbabwe a shadowy of its former glory.

Over the years, millions have fled an over two decade long economic crisis that Zimbabwe has struggled to deal with. Most have skipped the two countries' 250km long border into South Africa with hopes of a better life.

The influx of illegal migrants, not just from Zimbabwe but across the continent has seen a rise in vigilantism as South Africans seek to flush them out and force them back home.

Social services have also been strained.

Although Ramaphosa continues to stand by fellow revolutionaries in the ruling Zanu PF party led government, academics have equally blamed rampant corruption for Zimbabwe's failure to lift itself out of its lengthened crisis.

Almost US$1 billion is lost to corruption each year in Zimbabwe according to Transparency International.

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