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President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS.
President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has described the 42nd summit of the heads of state and government of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) in Kinshasa in Democratic Republic of Congo as “the most successful”.

“We have just concluded the 42nd ordinary summit ... It was the most successful summit. We dealt with a number of issues but principally we reviewed the progress made with regard to reforms in Lesotho.”

Ramaphosa, who is the outgoing chair of the organ on politics, defence and security co-operation, said the summit was pleased to receive a positive report about the near conclusion of the reform process in Lesotho.

“We received a very uplifting report from the prime minister, who informed us that the reforms are about to be concluded and all that remains is [for] the king and parliament to sign off on the bills. This will be a milestone in the life of Lesotho.”

Ramaphosa said the prime minister described the moment as the “rebirth” of Lesotho, in which Sadc and SA played an important role in bringing about peace and stability to the country.

The conflict in Mozambique was also discussed.

“Sadc reaffirmed its total commitment in supporting the people of Mozambique in the Cabo Delgado area and we also noted the progress being made where the Southern African-armed team is engaging and pushing back the insurgence.”

Ramaphosa said people who had fled the affected areas in Cabo Delgado were returning to their homes with increased confidence that Sadc had been helping them to bring about peace.

“We also did something that was most wonderful where we honoured the founding fathers of Sadc...” This was done by inviting their families, including their widows, who were awarded medals from Sadc in recognition of the role they played as a sign of remembrance.

“We noted the progress we have made in setting up a logistics centre to assist the countries in the region and in Botswana to deal with emergency situations … where our armed forces need to intervene…. We also looked at the antiterrorism centre being set up in Tanzania that also is operational.”

Ramaphosa said the meeting looked at a variety of measures and “very positive” initiatives that had been embarked upon by the Sadc member states.

“All this is aimed at enhancing stability at a political level but also at an economic level to ensure there is integration, investment, trade, dealing with poverty and increasing the creation of jobs. So it was a very successful summit where everybody felt like Sadc is dealing with issues. We also dealt with the issue of Eswatini,” he said.

According to a statement released by Sadc, the summit received a report from Ramaphosa and commended him for his outstanding leadership and continued efforts to address peace and security threats during the year, notwithstanding the challenges posed by Covid-19.

“[The] summit urged the government to expedite completion of the reforms, and to continue with peace, transitional justice and reconciliation process to engender national unity and bring about national healing and cohesion,” Sadc said in the statement.

It commended the work done regarding Lesotho.

“[The] summit approved the establishment of an oversight committee made up of the Sadc panel of elders (POE) and the mediation reference group (MRG), to ensure continuity and oversight on the implementation of reforms in the Kingdom of Lesotho.”

It also approved the extension of the Sadc mission in Mozambique and its related processes.

“[The] Summit expressed concern and solidarity on the latest security developments in eastern DRC, and mandated the chair of the ministerial committee of the organ, supported by the organ troika FIB Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs), to engage the UN 4 secretary-general on the margins of the UN General Assembly in September 2022, to explore all avenues to support efforts towards improving the security situation.”

It welcomed a brief report by Eswatini on the security situation in the country “and while condemning the violence, it mandated the chair of the organ to convene an extraordinary summit of the organ troika plus Eswatini, at a date to be determined, aimed at finding a peaceful and lasting solution to the security challenges facing the country”.

It expressed concern about the continued maritime threats affecting the region, particularly the western part of the Indian Ocean.


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