Minister for International Relations and Cooperation, Naledi Pandor has lamented the time it took Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries to intervene in the Mozambique insurgency.
According to Pandor, the delay may have aided the insurgency’s growth and spread. Pandor, at a ceremony commemorating the African Union’s 20th anniversary, on Tuesday, says she was pleased that SADC forces were finally allowed in Mozambique.
Minister Pandor says the progress the continent is making towards achieving full integration by 2063 will come to nothing if conflicts are not ended.
She claims that the issue of conflict has become a permanent fixture on the African Union’s agenda. This, she says, displaces important issues such as development and poverty reduction.
“The coups, coupled with the long-running conflicts in Eastern DRC in Sudan, in South Sudan in the CAR have undermined AU efforts to silence the guns. Closer to home the ongoing insurgency in the Cabo Del Gado province of Mozambique is of great worry and it threatens security and the stability of the entire SADC region.”
On Cabo del Gado, Pandor says she was concerned when SADC was initially not allowed by Mozambique to intervene early.
She said beyond the challenges, the continent has new prospects for success.
Deputy force commander of the SADC mission in Mozambique, Brigadier Dumisani Ndzinge ‘s interview on SADC troops in Mozambique:
Free trade in Africa
Most notably, she added, was the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area, which resumed trading at the beginning of this year.
She says the war between Russia and Ukraine has highlighted the importance of increasing trade among African countries.
”There are countries on the continent which are dependent on both Russia and Ukraine for wheat, and agricultural input such seed fertilisers, and the supply has been disrupted. South Africa imports crude oil, diesel and related chemicals from Russia and Ukraine, and exports citrus. The flow of these products has also been negatively affected. This underscores the need for greater levels of intra-African trade so that as a continent we become more self-reliant. “
Pandor denied reports that South African security services had helped hundreds of ISIS fighters from Syria to return to the country by providing them with passports.
“There are no hundreds of ISIS fighters or even one that has been assisted by the security agency to return to SA… no hundreds of ISIS fighters who have been brought back to SA. “