Unabridged statement: Minister of Defence: SA-Zim Joint Permanent Commission


SA: Statement by the Department of Defence, on the fifth session of the South Africa – Zimbabwe Joint Permanent Commission and Defence and Security (03/12/2010)

The South Africa-Zimbabwe Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security held its fifth session from the 30 November to the 4 December 2010 at the Royal Hotel, Durban, South Africa.

The South African delegation was led by Honourable Ms Lindiwe Sisulu, Minister of Defence and Military Veterans and included Honourable Mr Thabang Makwetla, Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Honourable Advocate Ngoako Ramatlhodi, Deputy Minister of Correctional Services and Senior Government Officials.

The Zimbabwean delegation was led by Honourable Dr Sidney Sekeramayi, Minister of State for National Security, Honourable Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa, Minister of Defence, Honourables Mr Kembo Mohadi and Mrs Theresa Makone, Co-Ministers of Home Affairs and Senior Government Officials.

The meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere, reflective of the excellent relations existing between the two countries. The Commission discussed a wide range of issues pertaining to defence, public and state security and reviewed progress made in the implementation of resolutions passed at the fourth Session of the Commission held at Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare, Zimbabwe on 9 November 2009.

The Commission noted that cooperation on defence matters had continued in the training and health sectors. To this end, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Training and Technical Cooperation was signed. The conclusion of the MoU will facilitate further collaboration in the field of training. With regard to cooperation in the health sector, a Technical Steering Committee for Disease Surveillance, Research Programme, Monitoring and Evaluation had been established.

On Prison/Correctional Services matters, the Commission recommended that work to explore the conclusion of two specific Memoranda be pursued. These are the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Areas of Cooperation and Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) on Transfer of Inmates.

The Commission expressed satisfaction with the commitment and cooperation demonstrated by the security sector and called on it to continue to nurture this relationship for the benefit of the two countries. It further noted the significant achievement by the Public Security Sector including the reduction of Armed robberies, the arrest of syndicates and returning of stolen vehicles.

The Zimbabwe delegation applauded South Africa for successfully hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup Tournament. In this regard, the Commission noted that the successful hosting of the FIFA World Cup Tournament was a clear demonstration of Africa’s capacity and potential to host future major international events. South Africa in turn thanked the people and government of Zimbabwe for the support they rendered which contributed to the success of the event.

Furthermore, the Commission took note of the manner in which the Republic of South Africa expeditiously administered its justice system during the 2010 FIFA World Cup Tournament and encouraged for the adoption of this system as a permanent feature in both countries.

The Commission noted that the political and security situation in the SADC region is generally stable. It was further noted that the Inclusive Government in Zimbabwe had made significant progress in its efforts to turn around the economy. To this end, the Commission called upon the European Union and the USA to unconditionally lift the illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe to allow for sustainable solutions to existing challenges.

The Commission noted that Zimbabwe was preparing for elections in 2011 in accordance with the Global Political Agreement (GPA). The Zimbabwean delegation congratulated the President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency, Jacob Zuma on his appointment as the Vice-Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation. It also applauded South Africa for its election to the United Nations Security Council as a Non Permanent Member for the next two years.

In return, the South African delegation congratulated Zimbabwe for its election to the African Union Peace and Security Council as a member for the next three years. Furthermore, the South African delegation congratulated Zimbabwe for their appointment as the Chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tourism Board.

The issues of illicit mining and the smuggling of rare earth minerals and precious metals, drug trafficking and international terrorism impacting on region were a matter of concern. The Commission expressed further concern on the challenges of irregular migration, information peddling, and subversive activities of non state actors including their propagation of foreign driven political agendas as well as transnational organised crime were identified as challenges that continue to be a major concern to both countries.

Having noted that vehicle smuggling was on the rise, the Commission underscored the need for continued enforcement of the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (SARPCCO) Clearance Certificates. Furthermore, the Commission recommended the conduct of joint investigations in order to curb fraudulent activities.

Concerning the influx of irregular migrants from the Great Lakes Region and Horn of Africa, the Commission urged the law enforcement agencies of the two countries to exchange information on the movement of these migrants and to formulate common strategies. These should include the enactment of legislation dealing with human trafficking and irregular migration.

Zimbabwe applauded South Africa for undertaking a Zimbabwe Documentation Project aimed at regularising illegal Zimbabwe migrants in South Africa. To expedite the process, the Commission recommended the deployment of extra teams from Zimbabwe to South Africa.

In efforts to facilitate the smooth movement of people, goods and services, the Commission noted the need to establish new border posts at Mapungubwe (Greater Mapungubwe Trans-Frontier Conservation Area) and Chikwarakwara (Great Limpopo Trans-Frontier Conservation Area). Pursuant to this objective, the Commission recommended that respective technical teams on the Trans-Frontier Crossing Points finalise the necessary consultations and submit recommendations by the end of March 2011.

The Commission expressed concern about the growing challenge of Human Trafficking and expressed the commitment of both countries to deal with this matter. The Commission resolved to continue lobbying for a regional response to the growing problem of Human Trafficking, Information Peddling and the sharing of perspectives on International Terrorism.

Having noted interest by external players to formally interact with military institutions in the region in the form of exercises and seminars, the Commission advised SADC member states to be circumspect and vigilant about arrangements with external organisations and States influences that aim to undermine the solidarity and coherence of the region.

The Commission noted the rise in incidents of rhino poaching within the Great Limpopo Trans-Frontier Park and in other nature reserves in South Africa. In response to the challenge, the Commission recommended the harmonisation of legislation, regulations and policies in the three countries involved in the management of the Great Limpopo Trans-Frontier Park. This would facilitate the effective implementation of joint activities including cross border law enforcement, fire management, research and game capture operations.

The Zimbabwe delegation extended an invitation to the South African delegation to attend the sixth session of the Commission to be held in Zimbabwe in 2011 on a date and venue to be decided.

The South African delegation accepted the invitation.