South Africa is reaching out to its embattled northern neighbour. President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for the lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe.

Speaking on the sidelines of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, he said he would meet President Emmerson Mnangagwa soon to discuss assistance.

President Ramaphosa concedes that diplomacy is always a challenge.

“There are always challenging moments and we are guided by one principle and one principle only – to foster peace, to silence the guns, to make sure that there’s peace and security on the continent so that the people of our continent can live in peace.”

The impact of the current instability and economic meltdown is being felt far and wide.

Empty stationery buses  resulted in millions lost in revenue. A bus company that operates 14 buses to and from Zimbabwe daily halted all operations during the country’s shutdown a week ago.

Services remain significantly scaled down. The bus company says it’s still not operating at 100% capacity to and from Zimbabwe. It has cut its services from South Africa to the troubled country by half and that will remain until the situation stabilises.

The ripple effect is that Cross-border commuters also affected.

“Even our inland services are getting affected as there are other passengers coming from Zambia that are crossing through Zimbabwe to get to South Africa. A number of them are affected and if this continues, we are in more trouble,” says Eagle Liner & Intercity Express Spokesperson, Johannah Monare.

The Zimbabwe President cut short an international trip to attend to the situation at home. South Africa has again called for sanctions against the embattled country to be lifted.

“They are facing econ challenges and can be assisted by the world. If the sanctions are lifted. At the same time they are having discussions with us on what form of assistance can be made available to Zimbabwe. Those are not finalised I will meet with Manangagwa soon,” says President Ramaphosa.

Hungry for change and improvement, Zimbabweans at home, here in South Africa and other countries in the region will be watching developments closely.

Watch video below for more on the story: