Construction work on a multi-million dollar Southern African Development Community (SADC) Standby Force regional logistics depot is set to start in May next year.
The depot at Rasesa on the outskirts of Botswana capital Gaborone will, when complete, house general purpose equipment for the military, police and civilian components of the SADC standby force.
In a statement issued on 17 July, the regional bloc notes Botswana’s Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Shaw Kgathi, visited the depot site, 10 km west of Mochudi on the Gaborone/Mahalapye road, earlier this month. He was accompanied by SADC director of the defence and security affairs organ of the SADC secretariat, Jorge Cardoso.
Cardoso said SADC member states committed $10 million for construction of the depot.
Development of the project is at phase two with tendering underway. Actual construction is earmarked to commence in May 2020 with the expectation of initial operational capability (IOC) being attained by 2021 and full operational capability (FOC) expected by 2023.
The SADC Standby Force was launched at the 27th Ordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government in Lusaka 12 years ago. The decision to establish a SADC regional logistics depot in Botswana was proposed by SADC Defence Chiefs in 2006. This saw Botswana allocate 19 hectares of land in Rasesa village in the Kgatleng tribal area for the project.
The regional logistics depot will provide storage receipt, inspection and maintenance of equipment/materiel for all components of the SADC Standby Force.
The SADC Standby Force, along with the SADC brigade, supports regional peace operations. Its functions, according to the regional bloc’s politics, defence and security organ, are observation and monitoring, peace support, interventions for peace and security restoration at the request of member states and actions to prevent the spread of conflict or the resurgence of violence after agreements have been reached.