South African business urged to invade Zimbabwe

CAPE TOWN – An economist with the South Africa's Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) Lumkile Mondi says South Africa should invest $2 billion in Zimbabwe if a political settlement is reached.

This comes as Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai and President Thabo Mbeki continue talks in Harare with the hope of signing a new agreement. 

With an imminent break-through in the Zimbabwean negotiations, experts are already recommending ways to tackle the economic situation in that country.

Executive Director at the South African Institute of International Affairs, Elizabeth Sideropoulos says that even if an agreement is reached, sanctions against Zimbabwe will still make it difficult for the country’s economy to rebuild itself.

Sideropoulos says should the international community view the deal as legitimate the flow of international investment could open up again. She says Zimbabwe can rebuild its economy like China did in the late 1970’s by opening up its economy and allowing investment in productive sectors to build up employment and exports.

Mondi on the other end says the Zimbabwean economy has the ability to surpass that of SA and that local business is very excited about the prospect of an agreement being reached.

He says if an agreement is reached South Africa needs to follow up by supporting Zimbabwe with a $2 billion package.

Meanwhile, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) says they believe it is crucial that an agreement is reached but that it is more crucial that it be an agreement that will bring about real change. Spokesperson Patrick Craven says they hope the MDC will only sign an agreement that will achieve this as things cannot carry on as usual.