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SA can use its leverage to promote democratic elections in Zimbabwe

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Johannesburg- South Africa can use its regional economic strength to promote democracy and free and fair elections in
Zimbabwe’s forthcoming elections, Viv Govender a senior analyst for Vunani Private Accounts has said.

“South Africa as the largest economy in the region obviously has a great deal of influence on Zimbabwe.

“We must, however, not overestimate the extent of this influence as Zimbabwe an independent country has often taken decisions that are against the wishes of their larger neighbour”, warned Govender in an exclusive interview with BizDay.

“South Africa has enjoyed almost two decades of virtually controversy free elections”, added the analyst noting that Zimbabwe could take cue from South Africa’s democratic experience.

“This experience and credibility could be used by Zimbabwe to ensure that the results of the upcoming elections are accepted widely, both locally and internationally”, said Govender.

The Fin24 recently reported South Africa’s unparalleled influence in Zimbabwe’s tobacco industry as it remains the largest buyer.

However, Govender notes that South Africa’s buying power in industries such as tobacco alone was too small to be employed as leverage.

“Zimbabwe’s economy is worth about $ 10 Billion a year. Thus this amount, $25 Million in tobacco industry is quite small in comparison.

“However, compared to the country’s total reserves, which is just over $ 100 Million, it is much more important and would be considered as a significant source of Foreign Exchange”, added Govender.

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