WATCH: Regional mediation efforts in the Kingdoms of Lesotho and eSwatini are progressive, says Pandor

Photo: SADC

Photo: SADC

Published Jul 19, 2022


During her opening remarks meeting of the SADC organ on politics, defence and security co-operation in Pretoria on Tuesday, International Relations and Co-operation Minister Naledi Pandor told the ministerial committee this was an opportunity for the region to review its decisions.

Pandor informed delegates that the extra-ordinary organ troika provided an opportunity for them to collectively and objectively assess the status of implementation of the organ’s decisions, as well as map a way forward in its efforts to bolster peace, security, stability, integration and development in the SADC region.

She further conveyed condolences to the government and people of Angola on the passing of José Eduardo Dos Santos, former president of the Republic of Angola.

“We fondly recall his invaluable contribution to the struggle against apartheid in South Africa which culminated in majority rule and democracy, and his overall contribution to the liberation struggle, as one of the leaders of the Frontline States.”

Dos Santos was one of the leaders of SADC and served as its chairperson in 2002-2003 and 2011-2012 respectively.

Pandor, who hosted the ministerial committee of the organ, said the organ had a wide scope and the MCO was the culmination of the work of the committees that anchor the work of the organ, namely the inter-state politics and diplomacy committee, and the inter-state defence and security committee.

“As we reflect on the progress of the implementation of decisions of the 23rd Ministerial Council, it is pleasing to note that 81% of the MCO decisions were implemented by the secretariat and member states. This without doubt contributes to strengthening the overall efforts in consolidating our goal to achieve peace and stability in the region.”

She said SADC as a region continues to conduct democratic, transparent, fair, peaceful and credible elections within the dictates of member states’ legislation and the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.

Pandor reminded the delegates that Angola and Lesotho would hold national elections in August and October 2022, respectively, and called for peaceful elections.

SADC Electoral Observer Missions will be deployed in conformity with the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.

Pandor highlighted the importance of dialogue and mediation in conflict resolution.

“Our Panel of Elders and the Mediation Reference Group play a key role in this regard. We are therefore pleased with the stature of the Panel of Elders and the Mediation Reference Group that are supporting the region.”

The organ also recognised Namibia spearheading the landmark UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women on October 31, 2000.

She added that the SADC also took it upon itself to track the implementation of this resolution in the region and note the progress in the development of National Action Plans by the SADC member states.

She also welcomed the launch of the Women Peace and Security International Centre by Namibia.

“As we reflect on the SADC’s defence and security agenda, we recognise the importance of ensuring security in the land, air and maritime domains.

“We will therefore discuss the SADC Integrated Maritime Security Strategy (IMSS) Action Plan, noting the importance of maritime trade in the region.”

Pandor said the region continued the fight against the political and security threats, as well as social and economic threats faced by member states.

The security organ said it had put in place measures, including the development and revision of national counter-terrorism strategies and plans of action; constitutional reforms; crafting and implementation of socio-economic transformation policies; strengthening of legislation and national strategies dealing with transnational organised crime, among others.

Kingdom of eSwatini and eSwatini

Furthermore, regional engagement and mediation efforts in the Kingdoms of Lesotho and eSwatini were progressive and constructive, said Pandor.

“It is heartening to note that the political and security situation in the Kingdom of Lesotho is generally calm and stable. Similarly, SADC is seized with finding a lasting solution to the challenges facing the Kingdom of eSwatini.”

Cabo Delgado Province of Mozambique

Regarding the security situation in the Cabo Delgado Province of Mozambique, Pandor said the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) had made great strides in restoring peace and security in Cabo Delgado.

SADC is currently undertaking capacity-building programmes for the police, correctional services, women and youth as well as dialogue programmes for civic leaders under the banner of SAMIM and through the African Union Early Response Mechanism (ERM).

These are efforts aimed at contributing to the reconstructing efforts under way in Cabo Delgado within the framework of the Cabo Delgado Construction Plan.

Pandor said SADC would need highly skilled personnel in a few inter-related disciplines.

“The SADC Regional Peacekeeping Training Centre (RPTC) has therefore a critical mandate to build the capacity of the region in preparation for deployment to peacekeeping missions in line with SADC, African Union and United Nations standards.”

SADC said the implementation of the AU Roadmap of Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa (2021-2030), as well as observation of the Africa Amnesty Month, in September each year, needed to be intensified to enable the surrender and collection of illegally acquired weapons and arms.

Pandor urged member states to expeditiously sign the Agreement Amending the SADC Protocol on the Control of Firearms, Ammunition and Other Related Materials, adding that since its adoption by the summit in August 2020, only four member states had signed the agreement. She said seven more member states needed to sign it for it to come into force.