Statement by Ambassador Jerry Matjila,  Representative of South Africa to the United Nations, during the Security Council Meeting on MONUSCO, 09 October 2019

Excellencies,

South Africa joins other delegations in thanking the Special Representative of the Secretary General, Ms. Leila Zerrougui for her briefing on MONUSCO activities.

My delegation recognizes and commends the fundamental role played by MONUSCO in addressing the perennial instability in the Eastern DRC and in the protection of civilians. SA commends the role and leadership displayed by SRSG Zerrougui on critical issues in the DRC and in MONUSCO discharging its mandate effectively.

Excellencies,

I wish to focus my intervention today, on two key issues; namely the improving political climate and the state of affairs in the Eastern part of the country. In respect of the political situation, South Africa welcomes the formation of the new coalition government in the DRC precisely because of consensual approach that characterized its formation. Furthermore, the distribution of ministries between the two main political platforms is in line with undertakings made in July of this year. We especially welcome the emphasis on promoting the role of women in DRC politics as representation of women increased from 10 per cent to 17 per cent.

Since the last report, a positive trend continues to be observed in President Felix Tshisekedi implementing his strategic approach to conflict resolution and peace-building in the DRC and the region. The trust and confidence building initiatives with neighbouring countries demonstrates his personal commitment towards the full implementation of the Peace Security Cooperation Framework (PSC Framework). These positive developments supported by relative stability in the west of the DRC, give impetus towards resolving other peace and security issues in the region.

Excellencies,

With regard to the Eastern DRC, a complex military and humanitarian situation persists. As you may recall, during the past week, this Council received a briefing on the Great Lakes region. As the country concerned, the DRC shared its concerns on the presence and activities of armed groups, intercommunal clashes and the Ebola epidemic. These concerns are shared by the Southern African Development Community (SADC). We are, however, encouraged by the DRC strategy aimed at addressing the peace and security challenges which includes capacity building for the Defense and Security services as well as the creation of national forums aimed at promoting peaceful coexistence of local communities to bolster national cohesion.   

South Africa’s shares concerns raised by the Secretary-General in his report on the Ebola virus outbreak and its potential impact on the region. Regional and international response efforts continue to be hindered by insufficient funding and poor accessibility to conflict areas as well as low levels of cooperation between the community and government. Additionally, cholera and measles outbreak further compound the already fragile humanitarian situation and weak health systems.  

My delegation is also concerned and condemns the attacks by armed groups on the Ebola treatment centers and staff. Against this backdrop, we welcome the launch of the AU Mission against Ebola in the DRC which illustrates willingness of African countries to work together in addressing this important health concern. We welcome continued efforts by the UN Emergency Ebola Response Coordinator and World Health Organisation to support national efforts.

In relation to the general security and humanitarian situation, my delegation recognizes the vital role played by MONUSCO in collaboration with the DRC authorities in addressing the security challenges in the Eastern DRC. We also recognize the efforts of the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) in addressing the threat posed by the armed groups as well as the work done by the good offices of SRSG Zerrougui in meeting with key stakeholders to discuss opportunities for supporting institutional reform and the on-going Ebola response. Going forward, one of the key areas of focus for the DRC government is the need to ensure the implementation of effective DDR and SSR programs and establishing government authority in areas liberated from negative forces. This is especially important given the progress registered in areas such as in Ituri with regard to the signing of a peace agreement and willingness to demobilize armed combatants.  

South Africa thus looks forward to receiving the outcomes emanating from the Secretary-General’s Independent Strategic Review of MONUSCO. Ultimately, however, we believe that any adjustment of the mandate of MONUSCO should be based on developments on the ground.

Excellencies,

South Africa supports SADC’s continued commitment to assist the DRC to achieve sustainable peace, security and stability. The August 2019 SADC Summit communique highlights concern with the security situation in the Eastern DRC. On the basis of this concern, SADC agreed to collaborate with the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region and consolidate efforts towards security stabilization in the DRC and the Great Lakes Region.  We are also encouraged by the AU and UN cooperation and undertaking to continue to engage in support of the consolidation of stability and democratic governance in the DRC

Excellencies,

It is our assessment that the international community, including this Council, continues to witness a positive trajectory of developments in the DRC since the peaceful transfer of power in early 2019. To build on the current momentum; the DRC will need genuine support from bilateral, regional and international partners in implementing its government program which focuses on political, security and socio-economic sectors. We are of the firm view that it is imperative for the international community, working through SADC, 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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