President Jacob Zuma hands over chairship of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence, and Security Cooperation, Gaborone, Botswana
17 August 2015
President Jacob Zuma has handed over chairship of the SADC Organ for Peace, Politics, Defence and Security to the Republic of Mozambique following South Africa’s one year tenure, and has thanked all Heads of State and Government for support during South Africa’s chairship of the Organ.
South Africa took over the one year tenure at the last Summit in Harare, Zimbabwe, last year.
“When South Africa took over the Chair of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation from the Republic of Namibia in August 2014, we did so, fully aware of the responsibility that lay ahead. We are once again honoured and privileged to have led the Organ on behalf of the region’’ said President Zuma when he handed over the chair today at the 35th SADC Summit.
The President said he was pleased that SADC regional structures remain responsive, co-ordinated and cooperative and that SADC Member States continue to be united in confronting emerging peace and security threats.
“To this extent, I am pleased to report that we have developed a comprehensive Counter-Terrorism Strategy, to ensure our preparedness in confronting these threats facing the continent and the world, today. Similarly we are addressing other threats to our regional stability such as the risks of natural disasters, poverty and underdevelopment. As a region we have committed ourselves to ensuring that our regional early warning system is improved to ensure that it provides effective and efficient alerts to potential areas of insecurity and instability” he added.
The President also called for ongoing support for sister countries in the region that continued to require support due to having pockets of conflict and urged South Africa’s continued support in this regard.
With regards to the DRC, President Zuma called for the full implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework on the DRC and the region, as well as the Nairobi Declaration.
He urged the continued support for the positive developments witnessed in the Republic of Madagascar since 2013, and said SADC should continue to support the processes of national reconciliation, constitutional reform and the consolidation of democracy.
“As a region, we call upon the Government and people of Madagascar to ensure that they safeguard the positive gains they have made, by fully supporting the process of nation-building and the implementation of the SADC Roadmap”, he said.
He commended SADC Member States for their contribution towards the SADC Observer Mission in the Kingdom of Lesotho (SOMILES) and the commitment towards achieving peace and stability in that country.
The President also praised the continued growth and deepening of democracy in the SADC region as demonstrated by the peaceful elections and increased participation of citizens in the choice of their governments and leaders.
"During our tenure as the Chair of the Organ, we led six SADC Electoral Observer Missions to the Republics of Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Mauritius, Zambia and to the Kingdom of Lesotho," said the President.
He congratulated the following Heads of State and Government on their election: President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, President Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, President Dr. Hage Geingob, Prime Minister Aneerood Jugnauth, President Edgar Chagwa Lungu and Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili.
“I am pleased to note that following a comprehensive and inclusive consultative process the Revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections have been adopted by the Summit,’’ said President Zuma.
He added that through this important instrument, SADC would continue to build on its institutional knowledge of election observation and strengthen good governance in our region.
President also recalled that the SADC region will host the first continental Field Training Exercise, AMANI AFRICA II, to operationalise the African Standby Force.
“South Africa has volunteered to host this exercise, which will take place from 19 October to 07 November 2015. We urge Member States to support this important exercise which contributes towards the strengthening of our deployment of Peace Support Operations”, he announced.
President Zuma expressed his profound appreciation to the members of the SADC Organ Troika, H.E. Hifikepunye Pohamba succeeded by H.E. Haige Geingob of the Republic of Namibia and Rt. Hon. Dr. Thomas Motsoahae Thabane succeeded by Rt. Hon. Pakalitha Mosisili, of the Kingdom of Lesotho.
He further thanked President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, President Khama of the Republic of Botswana and President Mutharika of the Republic of Malawi, with whom he worked well during South Africa’s tenure.
The President also thanked the SADC Secretariat under the leadership of Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, the Executive Secretary of SADC, who was ably supported by her team in the execution of their duties.
“As I handover the Chairship of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, I cannot but reaffirm South Africa’s continued support and engagement within the Organ Troika. I extend our congratulations to the new Chair of the Organ on Politics, Defence, and Security Cooperation, His Excellency President Nyusi of the Republic of Mozambique, as well as the Incoming Chair, His Excellency President Kikwete of the United Republic of Tanzania. We pledge our continued support to the work of the Organ,” concluded President Zuma.
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Issued by: The Presidency