South African deputy president David Mabuza maintains the possibility of the ongoing insurgency in Mozambique spilling into neighbouring states cannot be ignored.
The South African number two was answering oral questions in the National Assembly (NA) this week ahead of Parliament rising for the year-end recess today (Friday, 10 December).
He told ANC Limpopo parliamentarian Albert Seagi forced migration represented a larger risk and bigger economic challenge to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) “far outweighing fear of reprisal from insurgents”.
“Our (South Africa’s) involvement in stabilisation efforts in Cabo Delgado is in the country’s national interest,” he said, adding SADC member states needed an adequate early warning system “enhanced by strengthened regional co-operation as well as sharing information and intelligence to prevent future insurgencies”.
On what the multi-national SAMIM (SADC Mission in Mozambique) is doing, Mabuza told his questioner “the insurgency in neighbouring Mozambique continues to pose a threat to stability and security in our region and measures to contain and prevent any potential social, economic and humanitarian crisis is paramount”.
“Against this backdrop the (South African) government took a decision to support Mozambique to contain and subdue insurgents and further provide capacity in terms of training, military intelligence, reconnaissance and equipment. As a SADC member, South Africa continues to play a key role toward realisation of peace and stability in the region.”
SAMIM’s mandate is to assist the east African country in combatting “acts of violent extremism by neutralising the threat such extremism poses”.
The end result he said is to restore peace and security and create an environment conducive to investment for economic growth in Mozambique.
The SADC force in Mozambique currently comprises troops and equipment from Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia. A further thousand from Rwanda are also in the east African country assisting FADM (Forças Armadas de Defesa de Moçambique) in an ongoing effort to remove ASWJ terrorists from northern Mozambique. The SAMIM force is reportedly fully operational following deployment five months ago.
South Africa authorised up to 1 495 troops for deployment to Mozambique, with less than 300 Special Forces believed deployed since July with the main task of collecting intelligence as well as resupply and logistics support, mainly to Rwandan and Mozambican forces.