SOUTH Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday dispatched International Relations minister Naledi Pandor to hand over tonnes of maize meal and other donations to his Zimbabwean counterpart President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Pandor, a vocal critic of Zimbabwe’s human rights abuses, handed over the consignment at State House in Harare.
“On behalf of President Cyril Ramaphosa, the government and the people of the Republic of South Africa, we are here today to hand over the support to the Republic of Zimbabwe as pledged by the Republic of South Africa,” she said.
“With the good rainy season in our region after the devastating droughts of El Nino, we have tapped into our land, and it has produced enough grains to allow us to share. The cost of our pledge was R50 million and from that amount, we were able to secure 450 000 bags of 12,5kg of maize meal.
“South Africa will be responsible for the transportation costs to Harare and for further delivery and distribution to the identified 12 districts.”
Pandor described Zimbabwe as “a friend who sticks with us through raging storms”.
“Zimbabwe has been that friend that stood with us as we braved through the storms of colonialism and apartheid. As the saying goes, a friend in need is a friend indeed.
“While we are hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, we do not forget that natural disasters remain cyclic pandemics, affecting millions of people across the world, for decades. They have killed scores of people, displaced people and deprived them of livelihoods and dignity. They continue to create vulnerable communities, in which people are robbed of their human rights to access food, healthcare, adequate water, housing, educational and recreational facilities.”
Pandor said natural disasters called for government, business and civil society to come together to rebuild the affected communities.