Opening Remarks by the Chair of SADC, President Jacob Zuma, on the occasion of the Double Troika Summit of Heads of State and Government, DIRCO, Tshwane, 15 September 2017
Your Royal Highness, His Majesty King Mswati III, Bayede!
Your Excellency, Ms Sarah Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, Prime Minister of the Republic of Namibia;
Heads of Delegations;
Honourable Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, SADC Facilitator to Lesotho;
Dr Tax – Executive Secretary of SADC;
Chiefs of Defence Forces here present;
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to welcome you all to South Africa on the occasion of the Extra Ordinary Double Troika Summit.
I would like to convey my sincere appreciation to you for honouring our invitation to this Extra Ordinary Summit at such a short notice.
It is unfortunate and regrettable that as we gather here this afternoon that the Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force, Lt General Motsomotso, who was with us here in this very building three weeks ago during the SADC Summit, tragically lost his life in a senseless killing.
At the time of his death, General Motsomotso had dedicated his talent, time and energy towards contributing to a stable, peaceful and prosperous Lesotho by starting to implement the recommendations of the SADC Commission of Inquiry.
In this regard, on behalf of the SADC Family, I wish to once again express our sincere condolences to General Motsomotso’s family, the Government and people of the Kingdom on his untimely death.
To his colleagues who got injured trying to protect him, we wish them a speedy recovery.
The tragic death of Gen Motsomotso should not be allowed to pass by unnoticed by our regional organization, especially because it happens two years after the killing of another former Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force, Brigadier Maaparankoe Mahao in June 2015.
The assassination of Gen Motsomotso therefore sets a dangerous pattern in that country. The prevailing situation in this sister country should not be allowed to continue forever as if, it is business as usual.
There is a need for decisive action by the Region.
You will be aware that soon after receiving information of death of Gen Motsomotso, the Chair of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, His Excellency President Dos Santos, correctly decided to dispatch a Ministerial Fact Finding Mission to the Kingdom from 6 to 7 September 2017. That decision once more demonstrated a clear commitment by the Region to assist in resolving the security and political challenges facing the Kingdom of Lesotho.
We therefore take this opportunity to commend the Chair of the Organ for his timely intervention.
As you will recall, the recent SADC Summit held in this Building from 19 to 20 August 2017 had urged the Kingdom of Lesotho not only to expedite the implementation of all SADC Decisions, but also to develop and submit a roadmap on the implementation of SADC decisions with concrete, clear milestones and deliverables at an Extra Ordinary Double Troika Summit expected to be held by end of November 2017.
The Government of Lesotho assured us of their total commitment to implement all SADC decisions and develop a time-bound reform roadmap.
As a region, we are committed to assist the Government and people of Lesotho to implement all SADC Decisions including the required Constitutional, Security Sector, Parliamentary, Public Sector and Judicial Reforms.
We believe that the Kingdom can only achieve lasting and sustainable stability once these reforms are implemented.
These reforms have to be owned and led by Basotho with SADC providing technical assistance and advice.
This therefore requires that all Basotho, led by the Government and teaming with all national stakeholders, must work together for the high cause of peace, security and stability of the Kingdom.
We therefore uncompromisingly urge the Government and people of Lesotho to work towards finalizing all the required reforms within a period of eighteen (18) months consistent with the extended tenure of the SADC Oversight Committee.
This timeline is informed by our experience of the periodical cycles of Governments’ instability in the Kingdom of Lesotho.
As SADC, we cannot and shall not be in Lesotho forever. We desire to have Lesotho off the SADC agenda soonest.
Let me conclude my remarks by once more welcoming you all to this Extra Ordinary Double Troika Summit.
We look forward to receiving the report of the Ministerial Fact Finding Mission as well as the recommendations of the Defence Chiefs who met from 12 to 13 September 2017.
I thank you.
Issued by: The Presidency