Ramaphosa attends crucial SADC summit in Angola

STATESMAN: President Cyril Ramaphosa at a welcoming session at the SADC double troika heads of state and government meeting yesterday.

PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday attended a crucial Extraordinary Summit of the SADC Double Troika in Angola to discuss the security situation in the SADC region.

According to a statement by the Presidency, the summit paid specific attention to the implementation of SADC decisions relating to the Kingdom of Lesotho and the preparations for elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which is due to go to the polls in December.

The central African country has not managed to organise elections, scheduled since the end of 2016, following technical and financial problems.

The majority of the opposition accuses President Joseph Kabila of blocking the electoral process in the country.

The SADC is pushing for successful elections in the DRC as they are crucial to peace and stability and development in the wider Great Lakes region of central Africa.

The summit also reviewed the prevailing political and security developments in Madagascar.

Two people were reportedly killed and others wounded in fresh clashes led by opposition activists on the Indian Ocean island.

The demonstrators were protesting against electoral laws that the opposition claim could bar some candidates from standing in the presidential elections.

This is the fifth cyclical political crisis in Madagascar since its independence in 1960 after those of 1972, 1991, 2002, and 2009.

The SADC Double Troika comprises South Africa (chair of SADC), Namibia (deputy chair), Swaziland (outgoing chair), Angola (Organ chair), Zambia (incoming chair of Organ) and Tanzania (outgoing chair of Organ).

The Extraordinary Summit was preceded by the Double Troika Ministerial Meeting that took place on Monday.

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu led the South African delegation, joined by Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Police Minister Bheki Cele and State Security Deputy Minister Ellen Molekane.

The SADC summit is responsible for the overall policy direction and control of functions of the community, ultimately making it the policy-making institution of the region.

It is made up of all SADC heads of state or government and is managed on a troika system that comprises the SADC summit chairperson, the incoming chairperson – who is the deputy chairperson at the time – and the immediate previous chairperson.

According to the SADC, the troika system vests authority in this group to take quick decisions on behalf of SADC that are ordinarily taken at policy meetings scheduled at regular intervals, as well as providing policy direction to SADC institutions in between regular SADC summits.

The troika system operates at the level of the summit and the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, and the application of two troikas is referred to as the Double Troika.

SADC is an organisation of 16 member states whose mission is to promote sustainable economic growth and socioeconomic development through productive systems, deeper cooperation, good governance and peace and security so that the region emerges as an effective player in international relations and the world economy.