From Tichaona Kurewa in Livingstone, Zambia
Zimbabwe and Zambia government officials are meeting in Livingstone, Zambia, to prepare for an engagement with South Africa over mineral deposits and properties in that country, which belong to Harare and Lusaka.
The renewed efforts to engage South Africa comes at an opportune time when Zambia and Zimbabwe railway companies are in urgent need of recapitalisation.
Zambia’s Minister of Transport and Logistics, Honourable Frank Tayila revealed that the team from Zimbabwe came to ensure the two neighbours are on the same page ahead of the meeting with South Africa in Victoria Falls next week.
“Essentially, the team from Zimbabwe, they have come to meet me and my delegation from Lusaka including the Zambia Railways team, to prepare for a tripartite meeting that Zambia together with Zimbabwe and South Africa are planning for a meeting next week in Victoria Falls town. The two sister countries, Zambia and Zimbabwe, are delighted that counterparts from South Africa showing enthusiasm that we get together to chart a way forward as you may be aware Zimbabwe and Zambia operate a company called Emerged Railway Properties. This company has got interest in mining rights on a piece of land that was bequeathed to Rhodesia at the time and subsequently to Zimbabwe and Zambia.
“The two countries felt it was important that going forward, South Africa being the place where these mineral rights and properties are situated, must be brought in basically to complete the circuit. We have had this property for a long time, there have been challenges that have inhibited progress being made in terms of actualising the benefits that should accrue to these mineral rights that we have in South Africa. Together the three countries will now chat about a lasting solution going forward,” said Hon Tayila.
Zimbabwe’s Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Honourable Felix Mhona highlighted that Harare and Lusaka should continue to work together to retain control of the mineral deposits and properties in South Africa under the company Pan African Minerals Development Company (PAMDC).
“It befell our generation to make good the business opportunities which lie in PAMDC. Notwithstanding the complexities of unlocking value from the vast mineral resources and interests in PAMDC, we should continue to work together as brothers until we find the lasting solution to any attendant challenges. We must strike a good balance between the need to engage our South African counterpart and continue to press for a brilliant investment plan for the PAMDC which should be supported by a time bound implementation matrix,” he said.
Zambia and Zimbabwe railways own and manage various properties under an entity known as Emerged Railway Properties, including the Victoria Falls Hotel building and the Victoria Falls Bridge.