Continuing and escalating violence in Mozambique and the South African government’s public silence has prompted the Democratic Alliance (DA) party to seek answers in Parliament from the responsible Cabinet Ministers.
No less than 10 questions for the ministers of Defence and Military Veterans (Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula) and State Security (Ayanda Dlodlo) were submitted by DA shadow deputy minister of state security Mommy Gondwe on 12 July.
The questions follow Mapisa-Nqakula recently informing the National Assembly, via an answer to a Parliamentary question, that the insurgency in Mozambique’s far northern province was increasing. She also indicated talks “behind closed doors” were part and parcel of South Africa’s investigations and possible response to the insurgency. She confirmed the insurgency, apparently orchestrated by the ISIS-affiliated Sunnah wa Jama’ah (ASJW) group, can potentially spread to other parts of South Africa’s eastern neighbour as well as Southern African Development Community (SADC) colleagues and neighbouring states.
Gondwe said in statement the Ministerial questions were prompted, in part, by reports of deaths totalling more than a thousand and the upheaval of the lives of over 200 000 people living in Cabo Delgado province as well as the to date zero response from government. The questions are aimed at establishing the extent and nature of the insurgency as well as “the envisaged regionally co-ordinated political and military approach” to it.
The questions are: Is the insurgency becoming more sophisticated, co-ordinated and militant; which Islamist extremist group is behind it; who is supporting this group at local and international level; what is the group’s motive; what factors fuel the insurgency; are there links between the insurgency and organised criminal activities; are there links between the insurgency and the offshore Total SA led billion dollar gas project site south of Mocimboa Praia; what is the response of the Mozambique government to the insurgency and specifically, the military response; are private military contractors used to counter the insurgency; if yes, who is employing them and will they continue operating once the recommended regionally co-ordinated regional and military approach is finalised.
Gondwe is also seeking clarity on the regional political and military approach recommended as well as which countries are involved in its formulation and articulation. As a finale he would like the ministers to give a timeframe for the regional approach to be finalised and asks “will these plans be made public?”