Sadc meeting postponed due to Eswatini’s 'unavailability'
The extraordinary summit of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) organ troika, which was expected to be chaired by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday, has been postponed.
The department of international relations and cooperation (Dirco) said: “Please take note the extraordinary summit of the Sadc organ troika, scheduled for July 21 2022, has been postponed until further notice. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.”
SowetanLIVE's sister publication TimesLIVE understands the Kingdom of Eswatini, which was on the agenda, was not available to participate.
In October 2021 Ramaphosa said he had called Eswatini’s King Mswati to convince him to “engage in dialogue” to help bring peace to the troubled country.
Days later, Ramaphosa, chair of the Sadc organ on politics, defence and security co-operation, sent former cabinet minister Jeff Radebe to Eswatini as his special envoy.
Radebe was accompanied by representatives from Namibia and Botswana, and the delegation was assisted by the Sadc secretariat. The move followed four months of pro-democracy protests in Eswatini that escalated that week. About 100 people died in the violence, many killed by the military and police, according to reports.
During her opening remarks at the 24th ordinary meeting of the Sadc organ on politics, defence and security co-operation in Pretoria on Tuesday, Dirco minister Naledi Pandor told the ministerial committee this was an opportunity for the region to review its decisions.
“The agenda before us is extensive, which is a reflection of the wide scope of work covered by the organ,” she said.
Pandor said in the quest to maintain peace and stability in the region, “the Sadc is mindful of the need to continuously extend the frontiers of democratic principles in the region for the betterment of the citizenry and prevention of conflicts”.
“As we reflect on the Sadc’s defence and security agenda, we recognise the importance of ensuring security in the land, air and maritime domains. We will therefore discuss the Sadc integrated maritime security strategy action plan, noting the importance of maritime trade in the region.”
Pandor said she was pleased the regional engagement and mediation efforts in Eswatini were progressive and constructive.
“It is heartening to note the political and security situation in the Kingdom of Lesotho is generally calm and stable. Similarly, the Sadc is seized with finding a lasting solution to the challenges facing the Kingdom of Eswatini.”
On Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province, Pandor said the Sadc mission in Mozambique has made great strides to secure peace and security in the region.
“It is also pleasing to note the region is making concerted efforts to prevent and combat terrorism, as evidenced by the official launch of the Sadc regional counterterrorism centre on February 28 2021, in the United Republic of Tanzania.”