DAVOS-KLOSTERS - An unstable and struggling Zimbabwe is not in South Africa's national interest and the SA government will do whatever it can within its means to assist its southern African neighbour.
Trade and Industry Minister Dr Rob Davies, speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said South Africa was looking at the contribution it could make to resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe.
"What we need to recognise and understand is that a stable and economically advancing Zimbabwe is in our national interest and if we don't have stable Zimbabwe and we don't have a Zimbabwe that is able to make progress in its economy, South Africa will feel that and we don't want to see that," he said.
"The imperative to get involved according to our means and what we can offer is clearly a reality that we will have to cope with and the dti will be part of making whatever contribution we can towards that."
Davies' comments echo those of his Cabinet colleague, International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu who on Tuesday said that South Africa will support Zimbabwe in whatever way it can but within the framework of what it is able to provide and afford.
Sisulu said South Africa was keeping communication channels open with its southern African neighbour.
"We are also prepared to support them in whatever way we can. I'm not sure if it will be financially, or whatever kind of aid we can provide. Our support will, of course, depend on our ability to provide them with whatever kind of support ...it will not necessarily be what they need but what we can afford," she said.
South Africa reportedly turned down a request from Zimbabwe for a $1.2 billion (about R16.6 billion) loan in December.
A huge hike in the fuel price saw anti-government protests and a brutal crackdown response by security forces in the major centres such as Harare and Bulawayo last week, with conflicting reports of the number of people killed and injured.
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa had been due to attend the WEF summit following a state visit to Russia but on Sunday decided to return home to address the crisis.
- African News Agency (ANA)