President Jacob Zuma has assumed the chairmanship of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) organ on politics, defence and security troika.
Zuma was elected to take over from Zambian President Rupiah Banda when the regional leaders met on Wednesday for a two-day summit in Angola.
In a statement, Zuma said SA was honoured to lead the troika and would build on the good work done by the previous chair, Zambia, BuaNews reports.
“We are going to continue taking critical steps of creating conditions for peace, stability and good neighbourliness as a prerequisite for regional economic integration,” said Zuma.
“We will continue to render whatever assistance and support necessary to the people of Zimbabwe, Madagascar and Lesotho, as well as to support the post-conflict reconstruction efforts in the DRC [Democratic Republic of Congo],” said Zuma.
Zuma took over as chairman of the troika despite reported protests by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his delegation. Media reported that Mugabe said Zuma could not be facilitator and troika chairman at the same time.
Zimbabwe and the political and security situation in the region featured prominently in their debate yesterday.
Zimbabwe and Madagascar have been on SADC’s agenda for a long time and leaders are pushing to resolve the situations in those countries to secure what has proved to be elusive regional stability.
Before yesterday’s summit, members of the SADC troika met on Tuesday to receive Zuma’s report on Zimbabwe.
The report contains details of talks about the road map designed to pave the way for free and fair elections in that country. The troika comprises Zambia, SA and Mozambique.