Reputation of SA Development Community (SADC) affected by the utterances of the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe that it was a voluntary organisation and that its member states were not obliged to adhere to its decisions

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NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

FOR ORAL REPLY

QUESTION NO: 218 (NO2404E)

PUBLISHED IN QUESTION PAPER NO: 7-2013 OF 21 AUGUST 2013
MR LS NGONYAMA (COPE-NC) TO ASK THE MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION:

(1) Whether the reputation SA Development Community (SADC) has been affected by the utterances of the president of the Republic of Zimbabwe that it was a voluntary organisation and that its member states were not obliged to adhere to its decisions; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?

REPLY:

(1) Comments made by President Robert Mugabe during ZANU PF election manifesto launch did not affect the reputation of SADC in its efforts to strengthen regional political and economic integration. The comments on 06 July 2013 were an expression of a Member State’s views on SADC and are to be viewed in the context of an electioneering campaign.  It must also be recalled that SADC is an organisation of willing Member States who adhere to the SADC Treaty and related Protocols.

Article 34 of Chapter 13 of the Treaty does make provision for voluntary withdrawal. However, reference is hereby made to the Zimbabwean foreign policy which states “Relations with Zimbabwe’s neighbours in SADC are of paramount importance and, as a result, the country is proud to be an active member of a united family of 15 nations with shared goals, ambitions and developmental targets. Apart from helping to consolidate SADC solidarity, cohesion and mutual support that have driven the organisation since its inception, Zimbabwe has been instrumental in the institutionalisation of SADC and has committed itself to the full implementation of its decisions”.

SADC continues to respect Member States sovereignty to determine own domestic and international policies.

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