SA govt rolls out red carpet for Mugabe

Robert Mugabe arrived in South Africa on Tuesday for his first visit in 20 years.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and Grace Mugabe arrive at Waterkloof AirForce Base on a state visit to South Africa on 7 April 2015. Picture: GCIS.

PRETORIA - South Africa has rolled out the red carpet at the Union Buildings for Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe who arrived in the country on Tuesday for bilateral relations.

It's been reported that he could be looking to get a cash injection to bail out his cash-strapped country which is top of his agenda.

Mugabe was 70 years old when he made his first state visit to South Africa before he fell out with then President Nelson Mandela.

Mugabe presided over land grabs in stolen elections that made him a more problematic friend to Mandela.

Today he is expected to sign an agreement on improving bilateral trade with South Africa.

Zimbabwe currently annually buys R21 billion worth of goods from South Africa, but sends less than R2 billion worth of goods back to South Africa.

But Zimbabwe's Information Minister Jonathan Moyo has dismissed reports that Mugabe's state trip to South Africa is a "begging visit".

Zimbabwe is due to hold a SADC summit on industrialisation in Harare later this month and there's been speculation that Mugabe might ask President Jacob Zuma for help to fund it.

In tweets this morning Moyo says Zimbabwe is "open for business".

PresidentMugabeSAStateVisit bogus claims galore that its a begging visit. Wake up people! This is 2015. Zim open for business. No begging

He describes as malice speculation that Mugabe will extend his begging bowl to South Africa during this trip.

The minister, who is not part of Mugabe's delegation, says the president was invited to make this state visit and says it has been the subject of "bogus claims galore".