As the days move inexorably on to July, when the Southern African Development Community (SADC) says its mission in Mozambique will end, set military routines continue to ensure mission success.
These include, according to SA National Defence Force (SANDF) communication officers, induction training for mission newcomers and a staff visit to South African forward operating bases (FOBs) by the acting South African contingent commander.
Nine and ten January saw 77 South African and Zambian military personnel undergo induction training at the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) Air Component Unit. Able Seaman Romeo Rathipa from the Joint Operations Division of the South Africa contingent to SAMIM reports the newcomers were given an overview of the mission mandate ranging from combatting terrorism, neutralising threats to restoring law, order and peace in Cabo Delgado and the wider Mozambique.
Psychological well-being was under the microscope during a presentation by Captain Kassim Hemed Almasi, the Tanzanian officer currently SAMIM Force Deputy Chief Psychologist, with South African Lieutenant Colonel Mpho Finger introducing civil/military co-operation and its importance.
Acting South African National Contingent Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Tando Mpangeva, took the new South African leader group to Mozambique between 17 and 19 January to visit South African manned FOBs in Macomia. The group was briefed by FOB commanders on the current situation in their respective theatres of operation and plans for the future.
Mpangeva, according to Captain K Nkabinde, thanked the South African soldiers for their commitment to mission objectives as well as contributions in “stabilising the area and winning the hearts and minds of the local population”.
South Africa and Zambia, along with Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Malawi and Tanzania have been deployed under the SADC Mission in Mozambique since July 2021. The July 2024 withdrawal is as per a directive from the regional bloc Organ Troika Summit instructing SAMIM leadership to start a phased drawdown in December 2023 ahead of complete withdrawal in July – three years after SAMIM was stood up.