PRETORIA - Zimbabwe would flourish if the sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union are lifted, the Zanu PF’s spokesperson in South Africa Kennedy Mandaza said on Friday.
“It is a flimsy excuse by the United States of America and its allies to say the sanctions are targeted at certain individuals. It is very clear from Zidera [the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act] that the sanctions bar investors to come to Zimbabwe. They intercept funds that are meant to buy equipment for the development of Zimbabwe,” Mandaza spoke to African News Agency during a protest at the EU mission in Pretoria.
“The impact of the sanctions has been felt by the people of Zimbabwe whose economy has deteriorated ever since these sanctions were imposed.”
Mandaza said the situation in Zimbabwe is “dire” but insisted that the status quo will change under the current administration led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
“We are calling upon everyone who is in South Africa, and in the region to come and assist in the development agenda that has been initiated by the new dispensation,” said Mandaza.
The United States and the EU have maintained "targeted sanctions" on Zimbabwe - citing human rights abuses and lack of democratic reforms.
Last year, the US Congress and Senate passed the amended Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, which was later signed into law by US President Donald Trump.
A crowd of Zimbabwean nationals based in South Africa, in conjunction with South African political parties, marched to the US Embassy, then to the EU delegation's offices in Pretoria.
Wellington Manyonda of Coalition Against Sanctions Zimbabwe said what is at the center of Zimbabweans’ suffering has become unclear.
“We want Zimbabwe to be at a fair battle zone with other countries. If we can fail, with all the resources, then we can be blamed for that. I know we have problems, governance problems and I am not disputing that. When we want to hold them [government] accountable, they say it is sanctioned. We say it is them. Now we, as citizens have taken the initiative and said we need the sanctions removed first. If there are inhouse problems that will be solved, we will solve them after,” said Manyonda.
He said the economic turmoil in Zimbabwe - caused by the sanctions - has also resulted in scenes of turmoil in neighbouring South Africa where citizen truck drivers attack foreign drivers.
Manyonda’s colleague at Coalition Against Sanctions Zimbabwe, Martha Shumba said more pressure is required towards the US and the EU for them to lift the “illegal sanctions”.
Rutendo Matinyarare of the Zimbabweans Unite Against US War Sanctions said the excuse that the sanctions are "targeted" against the ruling elite did not hold water.
"The sanctions on Zimbabwe are illegal. We are here to cry for the rights of Zimbabweans, by allowing Zimbabweans to have a voice. We want Zimbabweans to talk about the pain and the suffering they are going through because of these sanctions. We also want to say those sanctions must end today for Zimbabweans to have better futures," said Matinyarare.
The EU in South Africa's deputy head of delegation Raul de Luzenberger received the protesters' memorandum but declined to speak to numerous local and journalists who were outside the EU premises.