Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe expressed his support for the embattled President Jacob Zuma on Thursday, saying he was happy to see that Zuma was “still in one piece in spite of what the papers are writing every day”.
Mugabe said he and Zuma needed to stand united in the face of renewed challenges to sovereignty and independence.
Mugabe is under pressure to relinquish power and Zuma faces the same predicament back home.
“Comrade president, we need each other more than before,” Mugabe said.
Zimbabwe, faced with one of the worst economic crises in its history, is looking to South Africa for foreign direct investment.
“I want to assure South African business people that their investments are safe here in Zimbabwe,” Mugabe said.
His statement was made at a time when sugar cane producer Tongaat Hulett lost 1618 ha of cane plantations to “war veterans” in Masvingo.
But, through revived bilateral agreements on security, trade and power generation, Mugabe vowed to protect South Africa’s interests provided South Africa did the same for Zimbabwe.
“Let us, therefore, work together to improve the flow of investments in both directions in a way that reinforces the strategic partnership,” he said.
Zuma said the two countries should expedite making the Beit Bridge border crossing between the two countries a “one-stop” for ease of doing business.
“We should ease the borders to allow the economy to flourish on the continent.”