SADC cannot drop its guard against terrorism – Ramaphosa


South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, wearing his Southern African Development Community (SADC) hat, said ahead of today’s (Wednesday’s) extraordinary Heads of State Summit there was still “much ground” to be covered by the regional bloc’s mission in Mozambique.

Speaking on arrival in the Malawian capital Lilongwe he said: “Terrorism cannot be permitted to continue to thrive in any part of our region as its presence will reverse the stability and progress SADC achieved in its four decades of existence”.

“We cannot let our guard down.”

The current mandate of SAMIM (SADC Mission in Mozambique) expires on Saturday (15 January) after being extended once since the first deployment of regional forces in July last year. Expectations are the mandate will be extended by a further six months and approved by today’s extraordinary Summit, the regional bloc’s first this year. It and the associated politics, defence and security organ meeting alongside ministerial and finance committee meetings were initially scheduled as virtual ones for last week. This was changed to live gatherings in Malawi, whose president Lazarus Chakwera is the current SADC chair.

On what SAMIM has achieved to date, Ramaphosa said there was significant progress.

“The security situation in Cabo Delgado is improving, which has allowed for some internally displaced persons to return home and resume normal lives. The efforts of SAMIM, working in collaboration with the Mozambican Defence Force, created safe passage to facilitate provision of humanitarian assistance to the population affected by terrorist activities.”

This in the wake of the July SADC summit which authorised SAMIM to combat terrorism and acts of violent extremism in Cabo Delgado by neutralising the terrorist threat and restoring security to create a secure environment. Other SAMIM objectives include strengthening and maintaining peace and security and restoring public security, law and order.