South Africa will in the coming year step up its international commitments, starting with its commitment to the Southern African Development Community, through peacekeeping to the United Nations.
Addressing a media briefing by Cabinet’s International Cooperation, Trade and Security (ICTS) committee, cluster chairwoman and Minister of Defence & Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu said government has committed the country “to enhancing our contribution to the operationalisation of the SADC Regional Early Warning Centre (REWC). Acceleration of the full operationalisation of the SADC REWC will form an integral part of efforts to prevent and manage conflict situations in the region and the continent.”
Sisulu said South Africa has made a significant contribution to the establishment of the SADC Standby Force and the SADC Brigade in particular, as was witnessed in September 2009 by the hosting of Exercise GOLFINHO which tested the readiness of the SADC Standby Force.
“In the next year we will seek to maintain the readiness of our pledged defence, police and civilian components of the SADC Standby Force as determined in agreements. Renewed focus will be on strengthening our contribution to the civilian component of the SADC Standby Force that is necessary to provide the core support to the civilian Head of Mission. Not only will we be seeking to enhance our capacity to make this contribution, but we will also strengthen our understanding of the civilian component concept and the development of a strategy in this regard,” Sisulu said.
Regarding peacekeeping, Sisulu added President Jacob Zuma ha announced that during the coming 2011/12 financial year, “we will be deploying a total of 2240 military personnel in operations across the African continent, namely the Democratic Republic of Congo (1271 personnel), Darfur (850 personnel) and Central African Republic (100 personnel). These deployments are tasked with restoring peace, training, and formalising and developing the security structures of those countries to stabilise and facilitate economic growth and a better life for the citizens.
“In addition to these enduring missions, we will continue to provide humanitarian support, disaster relief, election assistance and general military assistance to our continental partners.”
Further abroad, South Africa remained “committed to the reform of institutions of global governance, including the comprehensive reform of the UN which includes the expansion of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Our membership of the Security Council presents an opportunity to contribute to reforming the working methods of the Council and to work towards the achievement of a representative, legitimate and more effective Council,” Sisulu said.
“In the coming years we are committed to deploying/seconding South Africans into strategic positions in strategic regional, continental and global governance institutions according to determined modalities. Over the next years we will be striving to meet the geographical quota available in the UN system and meet the assessed quota available in SADC and the AU. To do this, we will in the medium-term develop a national secondment strategy to operationalise the implementation of the National Secondment Policy, revise the National Secondment Policy and develop a database of possible posts and candidates that South Africa can deploy into or put forward as candidates.