This weekend will see another brick go into the wall that is the African defence and security structure when South Africa hosts a preparatory meeting ahead of the fourth ministerial meeting of the ACIRC (African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises).
The meeting, for which no venue is given, was announced by GCIS (Government Communication and Information System) following last week’s Cabinet meeting.
According to the GCIS statement the meeting “supports and contributes to government’s priorities in promoting continental and regional peace and stability and ensuring African Union (AU) decisions related to harmonisation of the ACIRC Force and African Standby Force (ASF) activities are achieved. This will ensure the African peace and security architecture is harmonised and operationalised”.
The ACIRC force was put on the continental agenda in 2013 by former South African president Jacob Zuma as an interim measure ahead of the African Standby Force (ASF) becoming fully operational.
South Africa, along with 11 other volunteer nations, backed the initiative to decide if and where military intervention is needed in Africa. Countries which committed are Algeria, Angola, Burkina Faso, Chad, Egypt, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Niger, Sudan and Uganda.
Information emanating from a meeting of the 12 nations in Kampala in 2017 indicated an amount of $30 million (about R470 million at the current rate of exchange) would be needed to deploy a multi-national battle group and force headquarters.
“ACIRC could deliver the right impact, address complex conflicts and deal with various scenarios much earlier than projected,” Lieutenant General Ivan Koreta told the meeting on behalf of General David Muhoozi, Uganda’s Chief of Defence Forces.
“We need to have capacity to support interventions at different levels and at the right time to deal with these conflicts,” he said.
Preparatory exercises, command post and real-time, have been staged with the SA Army Combat Training Centre (CTC) at Lohathla in Northern Cape hosting Exercise Amani Africa. A command post exercise was held at the SA Army College in Thaba-Tshwane ahead of the Lohathla exercise.