Closing Remarks by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa and Chairperson of the SADC Ministerial Committee of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, Honourable Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, at the Ministerial Committee of the Organ meeting, 21 July 2015, Pretoria

Deputy Prime Minister,
Honourable Ministers,
Heads of Delegations,
SADC Executive Secretary,
Directors-General, Permanent Secretaries and Chiefs of the Army and Commissioners of Police,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Members of the Media,

Over the past two days, we have had robust debate on matters close to our respective nations and how they affect our region.  Politics, defence and security matters shape the development trajectory of our region. It is therefore imperative that we meet annually to take stock of the progress we are making, and if needs be re-adjust our strategies and goals, to address the security challenges of our times.

While there have been remarkable developments in some areas where the region has experienced political and security challenges, there needs to be ongoing political and security engagement within the region.

We are encouraged by the progress made in the political and security situation in the Eastern DRC, the Kingdom of Lesotho and the Republic of Madagascar.  However, we remain aware that peace-building is an ongoing process and we should therefore continue to be engaged in assisting our fellow brothers and sisters in finding lasting solution to their challenges.

Yesterday, we spoke at length about the changing security landscape in our region. We are also aware of new threats to instability posed by unequal development, risks posed by natural disasters, trans-border public security challenges related to vulnerable groups, as well as migratory challenges.

As a result, we decided that an Extra-Ordinary meeting of the Ministerial Committee should be held, to seriously review the political, security and stability challenges in the region, with a view to respond to these emerging security challenges.

Amongst the pertinent issues we discussed; was the review of the Strategic Indicative Plan of the Organ (SIPO II) to ensure the alignment of the Organ priorities to the Regional Indicative Development Plan (RISDP).

We discussed how our security framework and regional early warning systems should be improved to ensure that they provide effective and efficient alerts to potential insecurity and instability. In this regard, the MCO decided that in future, it should include representatives responsible for Disaster Risk Management, Anti-corruption and good governance, in order to fully engage with all potential threats to peace, security and stability in the region.

We congratulated the six countries in the region where elections were held, and we are encouraged by the increasing observation of democratic practise. The SADC Electoral Observation Missions and the SADC Electoral Advisory Council (SEAC) were also acknowledged for their roles in enhancing good governance and strengthening existing democratic institutions and structures in the region.

Amongst the operational issues related to the work of the Organ, we discussed how we can ensure that the work of the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (SARPCCO) is fully incorporated within the Organ’s public security and regional policing structures.

We also discussed the need to develop a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy in light of some of the emerging security challenges facing the continent and the world.

Lastly, we acknowledged how honoured we are, as the SADC region, to be hosting the Exercise AMANI AFRICA II Field Training Exercise to operationalize the African Standby Force. We are pleased to be part of strengthening our continent’s military response mechanisms.  This further illustrates our region’s commitment towards self-reliance and interventions led by African nations. 

Our priority remains to serve and protect our citizens, and prevent instability and conflict. I am pleased that with the conclusion of this MCO, we can safely say our region is working towards ensuring a stable and peaceful future for our people.

Today, as we conclude the MCO I must congratulate my Colleagues and the Secretariat, on the efficiency in which we handled the political, security and administrative aspects of our regional peace and security cooperation.

Deputy Prime Minister, Honourable Ministers; I would like to thank you, once again, for your presence here today and your commitment to our region’s peace and security cooperation.

I wish you a safe journey back to your respective countries.

Thank you.

ISSUED BY THE DEPATMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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