South African President, Jacob Zuma thanked his Zimbabwean couterpart, Robert Mugabe for honouring and undertaking his invitation to South Africa.
This is Mugabe’s second visit since the dawn of South Africa’s democracy.
“Since the formalisation of our relations in 1994, our two countries have enjoyed cordial relations in areas such as defense and security,” said Zuma.
“Our deliberations put emphasis on establishment of a bi-national commissions and signing of agreements to further enhance our relations.”
Zuma added that South Africa and Zimbabwe share economic and historical ties with Cecil John Rhodes being one of the landmark features in both countries.
Mugabe, who is on a three day state visit to South Africa is accompanied by his wife Grace and a coterie of cabinet ministers who include Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa and controversial Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere.
South African ministers who attended the signing ceremony include Maite Nkoana–Mashabane, Siyabonga Cwele and Nhlanhla Nene among others.
Mugabe’s visit is the first in 20 years, making his trip one of the most important of state visits this year.
The 91-year-old leader’s trip comes at a time when his economy is facing acute economic recession, impending liquidity crunch and incessant droughts with this year being one of the worst in a decade.
(READ MORE: Mugabe calls for ‘togetherness’ during state visit)
Zimbabwe is South Africa’s largest trading partner in the region.
Mugabe is expected to beg for help from Zuma, a move that could aggravate a number of South Africans also struggling with social challenges such as unemployment, rising prices and electricity problems.
Zimbabwe is one of the countries that receive electricity supplies from South Africa.
(WATCH VIDEO: Analysis of Robert Mugabe’s S.Africa visit)
Mugabe is also expected to be briefed about the ongoing Zimbabwe Special Dispensation permits programme. This is a special intervention made by the South African government to legitimise Zimbabweans in the country.
It is estimated that there are about three million Zimbabweans in the country with over 250,000 having received permits to stay in the country in 2010.
The two countries are set to hold a business forum tomorrow with both Presidents Zuma and Mugabe ready to speak.
South Africa and Zimbabwe signed three bilateral agreements in areas such as diplomatic consultations, customs administrations and on water resources.