Your Excellency, President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, President of the Republic of Malawi and Chairperson of the Southern African Development Community;
Incoming Chair of the Organ, the Republic of Namibia;
Outgoing Chair of the Organ, the Republic of Botswana;
Your Excellencies, Heads of States and Government of Personnel Contributing Countries;
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers present;
Honourable Mr Elias Magosi, the Executive Secretary of SADC;
Head of SADC Mission in Mozambique and SAMIM leadership;
Chiefs of Defence and Chiefs of Security;
Members of the Media;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
As I am addressing you for the first time this year, may I extend warm compliments of the New Year to you all, and also convey the best wishes of my Government for your prosperity and that of the Region, as we start this year. A year that promises to be a busy year in the Calendar of SADC.
I, therefore, welcome you to this very important meeting of the Extraordinary Organ Troika Summit, held together with Personnel Contributing Countries Plus the Republic of Mozambique.
Allow me to also express my sincere gratitude to you for setting aside time, out of your busy schedules, to participate in this important meeting. As we are all aware, the mandate of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation is to promote peace and security in the region, recognising that peace and security are fundamental for regional cooperation, integration and socio-economic development. It is therefore pleasing to note that the SADC region remains stable, notwithstanding isolated political and security challenges that we are seized within some parts of the region.
You will be aware that we continue to confront terrorism and acts of violent extremism in some parts of Cabo Delgado Province, in our sister country, the Republic of Mozambique. As a region, we resolved that acts of terrorism and violent extremism, that have led to loss of lives, property and displacement of people, especially women and children, cannot be allowed to continue without a proportionate response.
We meet today almost six months after the Extraordinary SADC Summit which approved the deployment of the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), to combat terrorism and acts of violent extremism in Cabo Delgado Province, by neutralizing the terrorist threat and restoring security to create a secure environment; strengthening and maintaining peace and security; and restoring public security, law and order in affected areas. As we all recall, we met in Pretoria on 5 October 2021 and agreed to extend SAMIM with the same mandate for another three months until 15 January 2022.
Since the deployment of SAMIM in Mozambique, significant progress has been made. The security situation in Cabo Delgado is improving, which has allowed for some internally displaced persons to return to their homes and resume their normal lives. The efforts of our Mission, working in collaboration with the Mozambican Defence Force, has created safe passage to facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance to the population affected by terrorist activities. I wish to express appreciation and commend the work of SAMIM on the ground. I equally appreciate and commend member states who have supported this work financially and through the deployment of personnel and equipment.
Whilst we note the gains of this Mission, there have also been challenges. We are saddened by the casualties suffered by SAMIM and the Mozambican Defence Force. I wish to extend our deepest condolences to the Governments of Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, the United Republic of Tanzania, and my Government, South Africa, for the demise of our brave sons, who were lost in the line of duty. SADC will forever cherish their service and contribution to peace and security in the region. We also extend our best wishes for the speedy recovery of those who were wounded in action.
As we consider the agenda before us, we are cognisant of the magnitude of ground
that still needs to be covered in the work of SAMIM. Therefore, we cannot let our guard
down. Terrorism cannot be permitted to continue to thrive in any part of our region as its presence will reverse the stability and progress SADC has achieved in its four decades of existence.
Our meeting today must indicate a strengthened commitment to defeat and uproot terrorism from our region.
I look forward to our deliberations on the critical issues on the agenda before us. The Reports before us will assist in guiding our decisions and recommendations, which would be presented at the Extraordinary Summit tomorrow.
With these words, I would like to declare the meeting opened.
I thank you.