Foreign Affairs Budget Vote: Address by Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad, Cape Town, 15 March 2000

Honourable Speaker

Ministers

Honourable Members

Yesterday the Minister and many other speakers warned South Africans of the dire consequences of violating UN sanctions against UNITA.

At the outset let me remind people who lived in the illusionary world of an "independent homeland" and grossly mismanaged it, that they should stop being irresponsible and make unsubstantiated allegations that South Africa is violating UN sanctions and also actively participating in the DRC conflict.

South Africa has taken various measures to prevent support to UNITA, let me mention a few.

1. The Inter State Defence and Security Committee (ISDSC) created an ad hoc task team to investigate the issue and to coordinate information received. The regional information centre was based in Harare with national information centres in all SADC countries.

The National Interdepartmental Structure for Border Control (NIDS) was established in 1997. As part of their activities, Operation Jacuzzi was launched in October 1997, as an initiative to counter goods being smuggled out of the country, and to improve law enforcement at South Africa’s airports.

The number of South Africa’s international airports was reduced from 40 to 10 and security was improved.

The documentation processes at road and rail border crossings have also been improved.

The Foreign Military Assistance Act (Act 15 of 1998) also contributed to individuals and companies scaling down their direct involvement and support of the conflicting parties in Angola.


Later this afternoon the Fowler Report on Violations of Security Council Sanctions against UNITA will be released. We have cooperated fully with the Committee. I will therefore take the liberty to comment on the report.

The South African government has not been accused of participating in violations of the sanctions, however the report does identify some South African individuals who have actively been violating the sanctions, either from South Africa or from other countries, they are:

Ronnie Decker ("Watson")

Major military equipment supplier and he was responsible for supplying foreign trainers to train UNITA soldiers to use the SAM16 missile system.

Joe de Decker

A one time De Beers site holder and who currently runs De Decker Diamonds in South Africa.

A Namibian/South African national J Parreira (Pereira)

Operates an air cargo company – Northern Namibia Distributors. He also operates an air charter company named Interstate Airways. He operates from South Africa.

A Russian national Victor Bout

Used his two companies Air Cess and Air Pass to smuggle commodities from South Africa.

Piet Hand

Operates from Johannesburg. He is laundering UNITA diamonds through South Africa. He is reported to have contact with a number of licensed small mine operators in South Africa he mixes UNITA diamonds with production from these mines, which is then legally exported as South African production.

This is very dangerous for the region’s diamond producers because governments and NGOs are preparing to launch an international consumer boycott through the Conflict Diamonds Campaign.

This linkage between diamonds and conflict in Angola, Sierra Leone and Congo can create very negative consumer views of African diamonds resulting in serious consequences for the legitimate diamonds industry.

De Beers, which is the main buyer of diamonds in the world, in 1999 ceased buying any Angolan diamonds and have committed themselves to introduce realistic measures to deal with illegal diamonds.

I am happy to note that the Fowler Report "shares the concerns expressed by diamond producers particularly in Southern Africa, that international solutions to the Angolan problem must not be allowed to drag down an entire global industry, on which these countries depend so heavily".

The South African Minister of Minerals and Energy and her counterparts in Botswana and Namibia are coordinating our efforts to ensure that measures to make it difficult to sell illegal conflict diamonds, should not negatively impact on the legitimate diamonds industry.

The report states that Lanseria Airport continues to be associated with smuggling activity in support of UNITA. The relevant authorities have been instructed to investigate this and to take all necessary action.

Mr Hain, the British Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs also gave the British House of Commons the following names

David Zollman

He is based in Namibia and is estimated to move $4 million worth of diamonds to Antwerp for UNITA per month.

His brother, Maurice Zollman

Is carrying out similar activities for UNITA in South Africa.

Hennie Steyn

A South African pilot, that flies diamonds for Maurice Zollman. He also acts as middleman for UNITA selling diamonds to European dealers and owns part of a UNITA diamond concession

Dennis Coghlan

An Irishman resident in Botswana, providing storing facilities in Gaberone for UNITA.

The Weekly Mail of 18 February 2000 reported that a South African pilot Ivan Pienaar was recruiting Ukrainian air crews on behalf of UNITA and he was also allegedly coordinating the provision of supplies to UNITA, and that Pienaar flies a King Air which was owned by Jannie Smith, a Parys businessman.

Pienaar is also flying a Lear Jet, which is registered to PPH Holdings in the tax haven of Delaware in the USA and owned by a South African.

Sanctions are a very important mechanism to bring about a negotiated solution and therefore we will do everything possible to ensure that they are effectively implemented. If evidence enables us to prosecute the sanction busters, they must and will be prosecuted.

Speaker

The Minister in her speech said that the agenda of the African Century for the African Renaissance will be our priority.

The continuing conflicts in some parts of the African continent as well as the continued economic crises in many of our countries has obscured the determined efforts made by Africa to tackle the scourge of conflicts in a holistic way, and to seriously work for the achievement of the African Renaissance.

As we will be hosting the OAU Summit in June 2002, it is vital that we have a more informed understanding of the OAU and its activities.

Since its inception, the OAU guided by its Charter, has been seized with the objectives of peace and sustainable development and have adopted many Charters and Treaties in this respect.

These measures are based on the growing reality that peace, stability, security and sustainable development is dialectically and inextricably linked to good governance, transparency, violations of human rights, lack of democracy, disempowerment of people, poverty, underdevelopment, corruption and foreign rapacious exploitation of our national resources.

With a new sense of confidence and belief that Africans must become determinants of their own destinies and that Africa’s problems must be solved by Africans, albeit with the support of the International Community, the OAU Heads of State and Government meeting in Algiers, July 1999 proclaimed the year 2000 as the year of peace, security and solidarity in Africa. It called on all countries to intensify their efforts to end all conflicts by the end of that year.

It further "expressed its grave concern about the resurgence of coup d’etat in Africa," and decided that member states whose governments came to power through unconstitutional means after the Harare Summit 1997 should restore constitutional legality before the next summit, or face sanctions and non-recognition.

The Sub-committee on Unconstitutional Changes has been re-activated to finalise its work as regards to measures to be applied in coup d’etat situations occurring in member states. This offers us the opportunity to contribute to the formulation of a comprehensive OAU position. I call on the Portfolio Committees to participate actively in the formulation of such a position.

Some of the issues to consider are

- what constitutes an "unconstitutional change of government"

what sanctions are to be applied

how should countries be assisted to return to constitutional democratic government

how should pro-active early warning systems be employed to avert unconstitutional changes in government.

The Heads of States also candidly posed the question: "Do we have the capacity to meet our challenges?". Consequently an Extra-ordinary Summit of OAU Heads of State and Government was convened in Sirte, Libya to look at ways of strengthening the organisation to make it more effective in order to meet our challenges thrown up by the rapid political, economic and social developments within and outside our continent.

The Summit resolved to revitalise the organisation in order to play a more active role.

It also re-iterated the call to eliminate the scourge of conflicts.

The Summit decided:

To establish the Pan-African Parliament by the year 2000.

The Summit also called for the establishment of the African Union.

Consultants have made recommendations on these initiatives which raises many fundamental issues. These initiatives will have serious implications for all of us and I urge that all sectors in government urgently analyse these recommendations so that we can make the necessary inputs into the debate.

The third major decision was to convene the first African Ministerial Conference on Security, Stability, Development and Co-operation.

South Africa is part of the OAU Steering Committee mandated to prepare for this crucial conference.

The African Ministerial Conference on Security, Stability, Development and Cooperation will be held in Abuja, Nigeria from 8 – 9 May 2000. Ministers of Foreign Affairs and other Ministers and officials responsible for Foreign Affairs security, stability, development and cooperation will be participating.

Our deliberations will be underpinned by our perspectives that peace can be promoted through effective institutions of conflict prevention, management and resolution. Also that respect for democratic values, human rights and fundamental liberties are vital pre-requisites for the achievement of security, stability, development and cooperation.

This will be the first time that such a conference on such a scale will take place and it will undoubtedly give impetus to our objective to make this an African Century.

Parliament and the NGOs must work very closely with the relevant Ministers and departments to make this conference a huge success.

All this gives greater urgency to South Africa’s participation in peace support operations. As colleagues are aware, since 1994 there has been a growing acceptance of South Africa’s important role in influencing post cold war international relations. This includes the need for South Africa to play a role in conflict prevention and participating in peace support operations.

The White Paper on South Africa’s participation in International Peace Missions tabled in Parliament on 24/2/99 states that "the nature of peace missions has changed dramatically over the past decade ….". The military is now but one of the many role players in processes in which civilians have become increasingly essential to mission success and that "our strong national interest and experience in the peaceful responsibility of seemingly intractable conflicts compels us to participate in peace missions. Such participation is increasingly a prerequisite for international respectibility and for an authoratative voice in the debate or the future of international conflict management and the reform of inter-governmental organisations such as the UN, the OAU and SADC.

The "growth-core force design" recommended in the Defence Review provides for participation in peace support operations at the level of up to one infantry batallion group and notes that South Africa has particular skills and expertise in communications, field engineering [including mine clearing], medical and command and control functions relevant to peace support operations.

We are happy to note that the SANDF have already started specialised training for its personnel. We are committed to participate in peace support operations in the DRC and other conflict situations.

I am confident that we have the capacity and commitment to excel in peace-support operations. Let us get on with the job.

Thank you.

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