South Africa allocates R300 million for Zimbabwe

Cape Town – Hundreds of millions of rands of South African taxpayers' money is to be used to help get Zimbabwe's mismanaged farming sector back on its feet.

According to the adjusted estimates of national expenditure tabled by Finance Minister Trevor Manuel on Tuesday, the money is for "agricultural inputs" to South Africa’s bankrupt northern neighbour.

"[An amount of] R300 million has been allocated for the recapitalisation of the African Renaissance and International Co-operation Fund for agricultural inputs for Zimbabwe," the document says.

The money is listed as an "unforeseeable/unavoidable" international transfer under the foreign affairs budget vote.

In contrast, additional funds allocated to vulnerable rural households in South Africa – aimed at providing them with so-called agricultural starter packs – total R70.6 million.

According to the document, this is to "mitigate the impact of high food prices".

Addressing the National Assembly on Tuesday, Manuel said the R300m would "assist in meeting Zimbabwe’s short-term food requirements’.

However this was "subject to acceptance of an appropriate role for international food relief agencies by a recognised multi-party government", he said. – SAPA