The chairing of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)is discussed in this paper as well as its key institutions by South Africa and Zimbabwe, for the duration of their tenure from 2014 to 2015. It highlights the constraints and opportunities of their agenda-setting functions, considers change or continuity in the SADC institution and makes some recommendations on how both countries can shape SADC’s policy responsibilities. It is argued that the relationships between domestic context, foreign policy organisational structure, leadership and political agency will determine Zimbabwe and South Africa’s performance in SADC in the coming year.