SA taken to task for not committing to SADC emergency ops centre

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South Africa has been taken to task for being tardy in committing the country to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Humanitarian and Emergency Operations Centre (SHOC) in Mozambique.

Jacques Smalle, Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow deputy minister of co-operative governance and traditional affairs, maintains Minister Thembi Kadimeng is “dragging her feet” and urgently needs to sign the agreement ensuring South Africa is part of the centre. He made the comment following Botswana committing itself – as the tenth SADC state to do so – earlier this month. The Democratic Alliance public representative maintains all 16 SADC member countries have to commit to the SHOC, launched in 2021 by Mozambican President Felipe Nyusi.

Sited in Mozambique’s Nacala province, the SHOC has been tasked with co-ordinating regional disaster risk preparedness, response, and early recovery efforts to support Member States affected by disasters. It plays a crucial role in managing the supply of equipment and supplies needed by SADC responders during humanitarian deployments.

Citing the example of last year’s devastating floods in KwaZulu-Natal, Smalle said southern Africa was “vulnerable” to climate change and “high impact extreme climate events”. This, he said, places South Africa at “significant risk” if it “fails” to sign the SHOC agreement.

“The KwaZulu-Natal floods were a devastating reminder South Africa cannot operate as an island and needs all the help it can get”.

The SHOC will be responsible for, among others, co-ordinating regional disaster risk preparedness, response and early recovery efforts to support member countries affected by disasters. It, according to an SADC statement, is crucial in managing supply of equipment and supplies needed by SADC responders during humanitarian deployments.

The SHOC was established as an autonomous, self-accounting SADC organisation with a MoA (memorandum of agreement) establishing it and providing legality for operationalisation.