Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and South African President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Elmomd Jiyane/GCIS

Tshwane - The Communist Party of Zimbabwe believes President Robert Mugabe missed an opportunity to solve the cash crunch crippling his country when he met President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria this week for the second session of the South Africa-Zimbabwe Bi-National Commission (BNC).

On Thursday, the party's secretary general Nqabutho Mabhena said it was disappointing to note that Mugabe did not push to become a member of the Rand Union, a move which analysts believe can heal Harare's massive cash shortages causing suffering to millions of Zimbabweans, some spending nights at banks just to withdraw money.

"We are disappointed that there was no agreement on Zimbabwe becoming a member of the Rand Union. This in our view, will address the cash crisis in the immediate term, but in the long term, we need to rebuild our industries," Mabhena told African News Agency (ANA).

However, he said the Communist Party welcomes Zuma and Mugabe's commitment to speed up the establishment of a one-stop border post at Beit Bridge, aimed at easing congestion.

The newly-formed opposition party, Ideal Zimbabwe, on the other hand, dismissed Mugabe's recent trip to South Africa as a wastage of resources in the already economically ailing economy.

"That gathering is nothing except a PR [public relations] stunt to hoodwink Zimbabweans, to generate false hope that Zanu PF is working flat out to improve the country. 

"We view it as a gathering to assure a dictator Mugabe, that big brother South Africa has your back. Both leaders [Zuma and Mugabe] are corrupt. 

"Mugabe is Zuma's political mentor, whose idea is to advise Zuma how to loot, state capture and how to turn a democracy into a dynasty," said Ideal Zimbabwe president Tinashe Jonas.

"The signed deals are not going to benefit any Zimbabwean citizen. Zimbabwe is now a South African economic constituency. The trade is tilted 100 percent in South Africa's favour. Zanu PF has auctioned off our country to South Africa including through slavery, labour and so on."

The Ideal Zimbabwe is a political start-up, formed "by ordinary Zimbabweans", and hoping to dislodge the country's ruling Zanu PF in watershed elections set for 2018. 

The agreement establishing the BNC was signed in April 2015 and inaugurated in October 2016 in Harare, Zimbabwe, and it stipulates that the BNC should meet on an annual and rotational basis. 

South Africa and Zimbabwe have good bilateral political, economic and social relations underpinned by strong historical ties dating back many years. The two countries do not only share strong historical relations but also economic cooperation.

Zimbabwe is one of South Africa’s top five trading partners on the continent, with trade statistics showing annual growth. In 2016, South Africa’s exports to Zimbabwe amounted to approximately R29.3 billion.

There are over 120 South African companies doing business in Zimbabwe in various sectors including mining, aviation, tourism, banking sector, the property sector, the retail sector, construction sector, and the fast food sector and many more.

An advance team of high-level Zimbabwe’s ministers including Defence Ministers Sydney Sekeramayi, Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Health and Child Care Minister David Parirenyatwa, Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo and the country’s Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira were already in Pretoria ahead of Mugabe’s arrival on Monday evening.