The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Ms Lindiwe Sisulu and Mozambique’s Defence Minister, Filipe Nyussi, today, 01 June 2011, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on piracy and trans-border crime.
In February this year, 2011, the South African Cabinet mandated the Department of Defence to put together a strategy to address piracy issues in the SADC waters. The Strategy was approved by Cabinet in April 2011.
The signing of the MOU today will see both countries, South Africa and Mozambique, working together for the promotion of maritime security in SADC’s Indian Ocean, with particular emphasis on the Mozambique Channel extending to the broader SADC waters.
The partnership and cooperation include joint training, sharing of information, intelligence, joint patrols and ongoing support in military developments.
At the signing ceremony preceded by a presentation of the South African Maritime Safety Strategy the Ministers agreed that to stop piracy which has a potential to affect negatively SADC trade and movements of goods, SADC countries must work together.
“The Government and people of Mozambique sent me to extend their appreciation of our cooperation and partnership. It is true what affects Mozambique also affects South Africa and we are committed to working with the SANDF in fighting piracy on the SADC waters. We also need to build stronger ties with all other countries within SADC in order to fight piracy effectively” Minister Nyussi said.
The Ministers added that the cost of Piracy which is estimated at 12 Billion US Dollars is not attended to. The Chiefs of SADC Defence Forces will meet in South Africa on June 9, 2011 to discuss the Maritime Safety Strategy for SADC.
“The South African Government will work with all SADC countries to fight piracy. This is our obligation to ensure smooth movement of goods in the SADC waters. We continue to work with all SADC countries and institutions to address piracy,” Sisulu said.
The meeting also noted progress being made in the land and air border in relation to stopping illegal activities. The Mozambique Government noted progress being made in stopping cross border crime and illegal activities.
After the signing of the MOU the Minister’s exchanged gifts and committed to a meeting in July and a joint exercise in the Mozambique and South African waters before September 2011.
The meeting also noted cases of rhino poaching incidents in the Kruger National Park and called on law enforcement officers of both countries to work closer to stop rhino poaching. The Ministers sent a warning to poachers that both Governments have declared war on poachers.
South Africa and Mozambique will work closely in all military matters and cooperate in protecting the SADC waters and the trade that operates from there. Minister Sisulu added that asserts of the SANDF are available to fight piracy and all cross border crimes.