South African President Jacob Zuma will pay a state visit to Mozambique to consult with his Mozambican counterpart Filipe Nyusi on issues of mutual interest, in particular on bilateral, regional and continental cooperation, it was announced on Tuesday.

Jacob Zuma, South African president
Jacob Zuma, South African president

The visit, scheduled for May 20-21, comes at a time when bilateral ties seemed to have been affected by the recent wave of xenophobia attacks in parts of South Africa.
But Zuma’s office did not say whether his visit was related with the xenophobia violence last month, during which a Mozambican national was stabbed to death in full view of the public. The incident, which was videoed, sparked condemnation from Mozambique.
During the height of the violence, there were reports that South African vehicles travelling in Mozambique were attacked and that Mozambican workers in Ressano Garcia, on the border with South Africa, expelled South Africans from their workplaces.
Soon after the xenophobia violence was brought to an end in late April, South Africa launched a nationwide operation which has seen the repatriation of 682 Mozambicans. Meanwhile, 418 Mozambicans have also been deported.
Oldemiro Baloi, Mozambique’s Foreign and Cooperation Minister, said his government was surprised by the deportations.
“We expected to hold talks with the South Africans to discuss the problem, but we just saw people being arrested,” Baloi said.
South Africa has been under fire for targeting foreigners, but Pretoria has denied the allegation.
“Historically South Africa and Mozambique have strong economic ties as evidenced not only in the presence of over 300 companies’ operative in Mozambique, but also in the high trade volumes,” Zuma’s spokesperson Harold Maloka said.
Mozambique remains South Africa’s top trading partner in Africa. In 2014, for example, South African exports to Mozambique amounted to 32.6 billion rand (about 2.72 billion US dollars), while imports from Mozambique to South Africa totalled 11.3 billion rand (about 942 million US dollars). Enditem

– Xinhua

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