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Statement on the SADC organ on politics, defence and security

Southern African Development Community (SADC)

4 February 2008

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Media statement

On the 31st of January and the 1st of February 2008, on the margins of the 10th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union, an Extraordinary Summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Organ on Politics Defence and Security was held.

The summit was chaired by President Jakaya Kikwete of the United Republic of Tanzania in his capacity as member of the SADC Organ Troika and was attended by SADC Heads of State and government or their representatives.

The Summit of the SADC Organ considered the following briefings:

  • status of negotiations between the Zimbabwe ruling party, Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the opposition's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), by President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa;
  • the situation in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), by Honourable Joao Bernardo Miranda, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Angola; and
  • the floods situation in the SADC region, by Dr Tomaz Augusto Salomao, the Executive Secretary of SADC.
On Zimbabwe, President Thabo Mbeki briefed the meeting on the following developments:

  • The Zimbabwe ruling party, ZANU-PF, and the opposition, MDC, have reached agreement on all substantive matters relating to the political situation in Zimbabwe, which the ruling party and the opposition had placed on their negotiations agenda, as follows:

    • the constitution
    • electoral laws
    • security legislation, in particular the Public Order and Security Act (POSA)
    • communication legislation, in particular the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the Broadcasting Services Act and
    • matters relating to the political climate in Zimbabwe, such as the land question, sanctions, politically motivated violence, external interference in Zimbabwe.
The most urgent of these, including constitutional and statutory changes, have already been put into effect through constitutional and legal amendments approved by the parliament of Zimbabwe, to which the President of the Republic has assented.

The only outstanding matter relates to the procedure to be followed in enacting the agreed draft constitution.

The summit welcomed the good progress made by the Zimbabwe negotiating parties and congratulated them for successfully concluding their negotiations.

Summit congratulated and thanked the SADC facilitator, President Mbeki and his facilitation team, for the role they had played in helping to achieve this outcome and asked President Mbeki to continue in his role as facilitator on Zimbabwe, to help the Zimbabwe parties to conclude the outstanding "procedural" matter of the enactment of the agreed Draft Constitution.

The Summit Meeting called on the Zimbabwe parties to continue their dialogue to resolve this issue.

On the situation in the Eastern part of the DRC:

Summit was briefed on the efforts made by H.E. Jose Eduardo dos Santos, President of Angola and Chair of the Organ, to assist stopping the military clashes which have continued to claim peoples' lives in the part of the country, as well as in the progress made in the negotiations between the government of the DRC and the rebel groups in conflict which so far have led to dialogue and cessation of violence.

Summit noted with appreciation the efforts undertaken by President Jose Eduardo dos Santos in assisting to stabilise the situation in the DRC and encouraged the government of the DRC and all concerned parties to settle any disputes through the laws of the country and in the spirit of reconciliation.

On the floods:

The Executive Secretary of SADC, Dr Tomaz Augusto Salomao, briefed the summit on the difficult situation created by floods, particularly in Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Executive Secretary indicated that floods have claimed human lives, washed away crops, destroyed property, social and economic infrastructure.

Summit noted the report by the Executive Secretary with concern and pledged to co-ordinate regional efforts and solidarity to minimise the negative effects brought about by the floods on the development efforts of the SADC region.

Summit mandated the Executive Secretary to work closely with the national disaster structures in order to reinforce their capacities and exchange of information and experience amongst themselves.

Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)
4 February 2008

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