A training course aimed at improving the operations and proficiency of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Standby Force (SSF) is currently underway in Harare.
Zimbabwe’s Herald Online reported that inspectors from all SADC countries were in the Zimbabwean capital to inspect different countries’ preparedness for “any eventuality”.
While on course they will inspect military equipment and troops of all SADC countries which have pledged contributions to the brigade strength multinational unit.
SADC Defence Inspectorate Working Group chairman Colonel Joseph Mathambo of Botswana said those on the course would examine military hardware and personnel with a view to deployment in the shortest time possible when needed.
“We have instances where pledging countries were found lacking when it was time for deployment and this inconvenienced the whole brigade. We then decided it was necessary to inspect troops and equipment on the ground.
“They will also train the brigade’s civilian component of police and non-government organisations that will provide critical services such as humanitarian assistance as well as dealing with children and other groups,” Mathambo told the Herald.
At the time of publication the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) had not indicated how many, if any, South African officers were attending the Harare training course that ends on Friday.
Opening the course, Zimbabwe Defence Force Commander Lieutenant General Valerio Sibanda said SADC member states had to be prepared for any eventuality.
“We have to be united and speak with one voice to be effective.
“In your various countries you have your own inspectorate format but this working group found it necessary for the same format to be adopted regionally.”
“The course is designed to ensure a common understanding of the inspectorate procedure so you can train others in your respective countries. If we are to harmonise our operations we have to harmonise out training first,” he said.
The SSF came into being in 2007 when regional countries resolved to contribute troops in the form of a standby force to defend member states from revolts and aggression.
The brigade is currently under Tanzanian command and is deployed in the eastern DRC where the M23 rebel group recently launched an assault on Goma. This was seen as an attack on President Joseph Kabila’s government.