S. Africa says to assist Zimbabwe in economic, social challenges

HARARE, Jul 12, 2005 (Xinhua via COMTEX) - Visiting South African Deputy President Mlambo-Nqcuka said here Tuesday that South Africa was ready and willing to assist Zimbabwe in some of the economic and social challenges it was facing, arising from sanctions and drought.

She made the remarks at a press conference after meeting with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

"I came to consult my colleague so that we can synchronize some of the things that we would like to do but of course we took the liberty also to pay a courtesy call on the president," she said.

However, the south Africa's first female vice president added " we needed to understand as well the extent of the challenges and the impact on the people in the rural areas."

Mlambo-Nqcuka, who was appointed recently by South African President Thabo Mbeki to replace former deputy president Jacob Zuma, is on one of her first foreign visits after assuming her new position. On this one-day tour to Zimbabwe, she was accompanied by Deputy Minister of Finance Jabu Moleketi.