Statement by Ambassador Xolisa Mabhongo, Deputy Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, during the Security Council Meeting on MONUSCO, 24 July 2019

Mr President,
We thank the Special Representative of the Secretary General, Ms. Leila Zerrougui for her briefing on MONUSCO activities.
South Africa recognises the important role played by MONUSCO in addressing the perennial instability in the eastern DRC and in the protection of civilians.

Mr President,

We welcome the recognition by the United Nations Secretary-General of the positive steps taken by President Felix Tshisekedi towards the launch of the reform agenda. This includes the opening of political space, the release of political detainees and progress in freedom of speech.

On the security front, South Africa notes the relative stability in the western provinces. However, it acknowledges and is concerned by the continued instability in parts of the Eastern DRC, in particular the Kivus and Ituri provinces. In this regard, it welcomes the vital role played by MONUSCO in collaboration with the DRC authorities in securing these regions. South Africa reiterates the need for continued support for MONUSCO’s efforts in stabilising the Eastern DRC and the need for the establishment of an effective Disarmament, Demobilisation and Re-integration process as well as financial support as requested by the DRC government.    

Mr President,

In spite of the continued instability in the east of the country, a positive trend has been observed in President Tshisekedi redefining his strategic approach to conflict resolution and peace-building in the DRC and the region. This is reflected in the trust and confidence building initiatives with neighbouring countries and his reinforced personal commitment to the Peace Security Cooperation Framework (PSC Framework) through the appointment of a Coordinator for the National Oversight Mechanism to oversee the Framework’s national implementation.

It is South Africa’s belief that the PSC Framework remains a fundamental agreement which has the potential to unlock stability, peace and economic development in the region. In this respect, we encourage all parties to abide by their commitments set out in the Framework, including at national, regional and international level. We commend President Tshisekedi’s outreach to the region which would lead to the stabilisation of the security situation and we reiterate our continued role in promoting peace and stability in the DRC as a guarantor of the PSC Framework.

South Africa supports SADC’s continued commitment to assist the DRC to achieve sustainable peace, security and stability. We are encouraged by the AU and the UN’s cooperation and undertaking to continue engagement in support of the consolidation of stability and democratic governance in the DRC.   

Mr President,

South Africa expresses its concern with the humanitarian situation in parts of the DRC, and is especially concerned with the Ebola virus outbreak which is, at present, declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Furthermore, we are concerned with and condemn the attacks by armed groups on the Ebola treatment centers and staff.
 
We would like to take this opportunity to commend the efforts undertaken by MONUSCO and UN agencies in the fight against the Ebola virus outbreak. Furthermore, we welcome the AU’s response to strengthen the capacities in this regard. It would be important that the international community support all efforts to bring the situation under control.  

Mr President,

Allow me to reiterate our position with regards to the sanctions regimes. South Africa continues to assert that any sanctions regime should supplement the peace efforts. Furthermore, sanctions should neither be politicised nor hinder the provision of humanitarian assistance and should not affect ordinary citizens.

In conclusion Mr President; we are of the firm view that it is imperative for the international community, working through the AU, the UN and regional partners, to continue to maintain solidarity with the people of the DRC and provide the necessary political, financial and other support in an effort to ensure there is no reversal of gains made thus far.

I thank you.

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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