The 15 member Southern African Development Community (SADC) bloc is expected to make a decision whether to accept the two countries which have applied to join the regional body. Burundi and Comoros want to be part of the Southern African grouping.
“Burundi remains divided after the disputed stay of its president’s in power. Possibly issues SADC will have to consider. Comoros on the hand would likely pose no difficulties. But another bugbear for the region is the DRC president Joseph Kabila who has exceeded his mandate, and the east is shaky,” said president Jacob Zuma’s spokesperson Bongani Nqulunga.
Conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and the political situation in Lesotho will also be on the agenda.
President Jacob Zuma is expected to attend while Cyril Ramaphosa will give a progress report on the Lesotho situation.
For the past year, the tiny kingdom of Swaziland has been the chair of the SADC regional body – the first time ever since its inception in 1992. And this weekend Mbabane plays host to regional leaders with much on its plate.
Besides dealing with issues in the DRC and Lesotho, they will determine the fate of Burundi and the Union of Comoros which have applied to join.
Despite sporadic incidents in DRC and political uncertainty in Lesotho, SADC remains the most stable region on the continent.
South Africa, as the next chair, will want to use that to advance regional economic integration.
The summit will take place on Saturday.
It will also discuss food security following the armyworm outbreak currently affecting crop production.
– By Mzwandile Mbeje