A panel discussion at defenceWeb’s Countering the Insurgency in Mozambique event today discussed South Africa’s response to the insurgency in Cabo Delgado.
Kobus Marais, Democratic Alliance Shadow Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, said South Africa has a constitutional interest in the conflict. “We do not live on an island,” said Marais. Political and security stability is vital to developing an economy.
Thomas Mandrup, associate professor for the Security Institute for Governance and Leadership in Africa at the University of Stellenbosch, questions whether the Mozambican government is ready or preparing to take a leading role in diplomatically solving the security issue in Cabo Delgado. Mandrup said the Southern African Development Community should put political pressure on Mozambique to do so.
John Stupart, director of African Defence Review, said this conflict cannot be won militarily. Empirical evidence suggests counter-insurgency operations are messy, prolonged affairs. Stupart questioned what South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation is doing. Maputo has made it clear that economic interests in Cabo Delgado trump diplomacy with insurgents and citizens. South Africa and Mozambique clearly have different interests.