Cape Town: The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation welcomed delegates from DIRCO. He said that the Committee had decided to prioritise issues related to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and that was why the Committee had to take the situation in Swaziland seriously. The Committee had plans to discuss the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as well. The Chairperson said that it was nice to have a DDG and a Chief Director as they could give the detail of what was happening.
Johannesburg: As the Global Political Agreement (GPA) staggers to an end, continued violations of the agreement, reform deficits, limited institutional credibility and the rejection of a UN election needs assessment mission underscore the continued absence of conditions for peaceful and credible elections, despite the new constitution adopted in March 2013. President Robert Mugabe has been forced to step back from a June vote, but his party still pushes for an expedited process with little time to implement outstanding reforms and new constitutional provisions. The pervasive fear of violence and actual intimidation contradicts rhetorical commitments to peace. A reasonably free vote is still possible, but so too are deferred or disputed polls, or even a military intervention. The international community seems ready to back the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which must work with GPA partners to define and enforce “red lines” for a credible vote.
Pretoria: Government encourages all Angolans who sought refuge in South Africa as a result of the civil war in Angola, which ended in April 2002, to voluntarily avail themselves for repatriation. South Africa recognises Angola as a democratic State that has made significant transitions since the end of the civil war. Cabinet has declared that 31 August 2013 be set aside as the cessation date in South Africa for the affected Angolan refugees. The repatriation is in line with the cessation declared by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and supports the efforts to enhance regional integration.
The unexpected occupation of Lubumbashi, the second largest city in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), by 440 Mai-Mai fighters last month is another sign of the central government’s lack of capacity to govern, ensure security or pursue reform. The occupation, which resulted in 35 dead and 53 wounded, serves as a reminder that the country’s crisis is not limited to North Kivu, in eastern Congo, or to warlords. By raising the flag of the state of Katanga (independent from 1960-1963) on Moïse Tshombe Square in the centre of Lubumbashi, the Mai-Mai Bakata Katanga group performed a powerful symbolic act. Katangan separatism has haunted Congolese politics since independence in June 1960. The province is the country’s economic crown jewel, as industrial mining activities are concentrated there.
Harare: Treasury is set to further slash the harmonised elections budget from US$132 million to about US$100 million in a move likely to result in polling agents’ allowances being cut by a huge margin. This comes as Government barred the United Nations election assessment team from visiting Zimbabwe after it reportedly overstepped its mandate and sought to meet ministries and organisations that had nothing to do with election funding. Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa yesterday confirmed that Government had blocked the team’s visit because its terms of reference were unacceptable.
1. The 4th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) was held on Friday, 12 April 2013 in Gaborone, Botswana. The purpose of the Summit was for the Heads of State and Government to consider progress made in implementing the SACU Work Programme.
Gaborone: There is muted optimism as the five-member Southern African Customs Union (SACU) prepare for their annual Summit of Heads of State and Government in Botswana’s capital city, Gaborone. Preparatory meetings of the SACU Commission on April 7-9 and the SACU Council of Ministers on April 10 will precede the Summit. The five member states - Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland - go into this Summit confident of some measure of progress especially in the areas of trade facilitation.
The Centre for Conflict Resolution hosted a policy advisory group seminar in November 2012 on “South Africa in Southern Africa”. The meeting focused on seven key themes relating to regional integration in Southern Africa: the history of regionalism; peace and security; the Southern African Customs Union, and South Africa’s development finance institutions; democratic governance; South Africa’s sub-regional role; migration and food security; and the role of the European Union and China. The following 10 key policy recommendations emerged from the policy advisory group seminar:
The South African Development Community Treaty (the SADC Treaty) provides for the establishment of the SADC Tribunal (the Tribunal) “to ensure adherence to, and proper interpretation of, the provisions of this Treaty and subsidiary instruments and to adjudicate upon such disputes as may be referred to it” and for a Protocol on the Tribunal (the Protocol) that sets out its “composition, powers, functions, procedures and other related matters”-vide Articles 9 and 16(2).
Pretoria: Summit of the Troika of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation was held in Pretoria, Republic of South Africa on 9 March 2013 to consider the political and security situation in the region, in particular the developments in the Republic of Zimbabwe.