Turkish Journal of International Relations

Turkish Journal of International Relations

Volume 1, Number 4, Winter 2002


The Saga Continues...The Zimbabwe Issue in South Africa's Foreign Policy
By Jo-Ansie van Wyk



Geo-political and geo-economic factors have always determined relations between South Africa and Zimbabwe. Relations between these neighbours went through all the motions of apartheid, destabilisation, liberation, decolonisation and democratisation. After the implementation of international sanctions against Zimbabwe due to UDI, South Africa became Zimbabwe’s largest trading partner. At the time of its independence Zimbabwe’s economy was largely dominated by South Africa. By 1981 South African investments in Zimbabwe was more than 478 million pounds. Economic disengagement from Pretoria became one of the cornerstones of President Mugabe’s foreign policy. However, labour migration to South Africa became a physical manifestation of Zimbabwe’s continued economic dependence on its southern neighbour. Full diplomatic relations were resumed in April 1994 after South Africa’s first democratic elections.

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