Media release

International Cooperation, Trade and Security Cluster media briefing

13 September 2011

13 September 2011

Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Lindiwe Sisulu

Deputy Ministers
Members of the Media

We welcome you to this second Ministerial Cluster briefing for 2011.

African agenda

The 31st Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) which was held in Luanda, Republic of Angola in August elected President Zuma, as Chairperson of SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation. The Organ is one of the most important forums of SADC with the mandate to deal with various activities relating to politics, defence and security challenges currently existing in the region that requires implementation and action by the Organ under the leadership of the Chair.

The Organ has since been pre-occupied with matters relating to the implementation of decisions related to the consolidation of democracy, defence and security matters, political and security situation in the region and the political developments in the DRC, Lesotho, Madagascar, and Zimbabwe.

On 11 September 2011 the South African Government deployed the South African National Defence Force to a rescue and humanitarian mission following the ferry accident in along the island of Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania. SANDF has deployed a team of eleven specialist divers, four medical personnel and a range of highly specialised equipments like chambers and oxygen gases to be used during the operation.  The team consists of defence force members form the Navy, the Airforce and the SA Medical Health Services.

South Africa is and has always been committed to the peaceful resolution of conflicts on the African continent and globally; and has made substantial contributions in mediation efforts, peacemaking, peace-building, and post-conflict reconstruction.  Our contributions in countries such as the Burundi, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Madagascar, South Sudan and Zimbabwe – speak for themselves.

Regional political and economic integration

Deeper regional integration in Africa and Southern Africa are prerequisites for engaging more competitively with the world economy. South Africa’s continental trade agenda is focused on supporting Africa’s economic integration in line with the NEPAD and the AU and the Abuja Treaty to establish the African Economic Community. The formation of the SADC-EAC-COMESA Tripartite Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will assist in rationalising the different regional economic communities on the continent.
This will create a market of 26 countries with a combined population of nearly 600 million people and a total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of approximately US$1.0 trillion.

South Africa hosted the 2nd Tripartite Summit in June. The TFTA is one of the key priorities for South Africa – our trade with African countries is not in commodities but in value-added products. Extending the regional FTAs already in place on the continent has the potential to build and sustain more diverse markets for our products. In the context of markedly improved growth prospects for Africa alongside intensifying global competition for Africa’s resources and markets, the need to enhance South Africa’s access to African markets is more urgent.  The Tripartite agreed on a developmental integration agenda premised on the three pillars, which include market integration, infrastructure and industrial development.

The overall objectives are to:

  • build on the improved economic development prospects and potential in Africa;
  • promote socio-economic development;
  • reduce poverty and inequality;
  • deepen our integration to compete more effectively in the global economy;
  • build common positions in our international economic engagements and
  • contribute to the objectives of the Abuja Treaty.

South Africa has been chairing SACU from 15 July 2010 to 15 July 2011. During its tenure it has successfully refocused the SACU work programme resulting in the development of a five-point work programme that is expected to unlock the development potential for the region when fully implemented.
The five-point programme consists of Trade Facilitation, Industrial Development Unified Engagement in Negotiations, Development of Common Institutions and Review of Revenue Sharing Formula. The action plans for each priority area are in the process of development.

We have facilitated linking of Botswana and Angola’s National Early Warning Centres to the SADC Regional Early Warning Centre (REWC). At the moment South Africa, Botswana and Angola have fully implemented the system as pilot projects. We will facilitate development of this capacity in the remaining nine SADC member states once the project proves successful.

Proposed SADC strategic plan for combating of illegal migration, smuggling of migrants and trafficking of persons for 2011-2015

The Ministerial Committee if the Organ (MCO) in June 2011 considered the marked increase in migration activities, most of which are illegal and stream from Asia, Horn of Africa, West Africa and the Great Lakes Region, sometimes with the assistance of nationals of Member States through corrupt means.  The discussion attributed the threat of illegal migration, human trafficking and smuggling of persons to the following:

  • The lack of border monitoring mechanism, including proper demarcation and the porosity of the borders;
  • Difficulties in repatriation for lack of documentation and there is no concerted effort in the region to deal with the issue;
  • The lack of cooperation between SADC Member States and other regions on migratory issues;
  • The increasing numbers of organised migratory crime syndicates; and
  • Also the corruption by some officials manning ports of entries in the region.
    The Ministerial Committee of the Organ (MCO) directed that a collective strategy be developed before November 2011.

SADC maritime security

Piracy undoubtedly constitutes a serious challenge to the development and stability of SADC member states, given the importance of the region’s international seaborne trade and its vital contribution to regional food-stocks and economic development.
The sea plays an extremely important role in both SADC’s economy and international commerce and there can be no doubt that maritime-security is essential for SADC’s continued economic and political stability.

SADC therefore has both an international and regional responsibility to help promote good order at sea. Threats of piracy are of particular concern to SADC, whose coastline and shipping lanes are extremely vulnerable to maritime crime. As SADC’s coastal area do not fall within patrol areas of the international anti-pirate forces, SADC will have to take responsibility for its own maritime security.

A threat around the Horn of Africa and SADC waters will detrimentally affect SADC’s trade and economy. Maritime security is a regional concern to all SADC Member States. Both SADC coastal states and SADC land-lock states are equally dependent on maritime trade. A policy is required to combat piracy in SADC waters and to safeguard the economies of the many landlocked countries.

SADC’s Maritime Strategy must entail a regional partnership with all Member States contributing within their means. Not all Member States necessarily have the essential maritime and military capabilities, but they may still contribute in other ways. Some countries may for example provide land-based equipment such as radars, as well as soldiers to patrol coastlines and islands.

SADC must establish robust Rules of Engagement (ROE) for anti-piracy, which should be largely consistent with the ROE of other regions and tasks forces.

With regard to the legal framework, SADC Member States should ratify or accede to international maritime conventions/treaties/regimes and the incorporation of these into their national law. SADC Member States should seek to put in place comprehensive legal regimes at national level, consistent with international law, to prosecute pirates.

The current practice of “catch-and-release” of pirates should be stopped, since it allows experienced pirates to execute more sophisticated acts of piracy. Therefore SADC should strengthen and harmonise regional and domestic legal frameworks for arrest, awaiting trail detention, prosecution and imprisonment or repatriation of pirates.

SADC will have to take responsibility for its own maritime security in cooperation with other regions, task forces, navies and role-players. Collective security for SADC remains a necessary pre-condition for the region.

Piracy on the eastern Coast of Africa will not be stopped unless the root-causes of insecurity in Somalia are addressed SADC should engage the African Union to consider decentralised initiatives for promoting, peace, security and development in Puntland and Somaliland, especially since the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in Somalia is struggling to make headway to exert its national authority in creating stability, as well as enforcing law and order on land and sea.

SADC should support the AU’s initiatives and mechanisms to address insecurity in Somalia over the long-term. At the same time it should support inter-regional efforts towards transforming Somalia and combating piracy. The Troika Assessment Team and its Draft Action Plan can form the basis in formulating a Regional Anti-piracy Strategy for SADC. The following statement in fact encapsulates the intent of the SADC as agreed at all levels.

Continental peace keeping missions

South Africa is conscious of its responsibility as a member state of the Southern African Development Community, African Union and the United Nations and has over the past ten years South Africa has participated in peacekeeping missions in the following countries; Lesotho, Ivory Coast, Union of Comoros Islands, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Guinea Bissau and Sudan. 

South Africa is acknowledged as a leader in the achievement of peace within the region and the continent. Looking back on a decade of participation in International Peace Missions, it is clear that we have come a long way from our humble beginnings in 1999 with the deployment the first members of the South African Defence Force (SANDF) to Burundi.

South Africa is currently involved in various external operations and a total of two thousand three hundred and four (2304) SANDF members are at present deployed externally.

Operation Mistral - Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

There are currently one thousand two hundred and thirty six (1236) SANDF members deployed in this operation. The SANDF contingent is in support of the United Nations Stabilisation Mission (MONUSCO). 

The Security Council extended the mandate of the UN Mission in the DRC (MONUC) until 30 June 2011 and therefore the mission changed its title to UN Stabilisation Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO).

Operation Cordite – Sudan

(DARFUR) The SANDF force currently consists of eight hundred and nine (809) SANDF.  This operation was launched on 15 July 2004 in support of the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS).  AMIS was terminated on 31 December 2007 and became the first African Union – United Nations hybrid mission when it was replaced by the United Nations African Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) on 1 January 2008.

Operation Vimbezela - Central African Republic (CAR)

The South African contingent consists of seventy two (72) primary training and engineer personnel who are building capacity in the Central African Republic (CAR) by “training the trainers”. The security situation remains stable.

United Nations Peace and Security Council

South Africa continues to actively participate in all the activities of the UNSC in line with our national priorities, making inputs to its various discussions, including debates and consultations on draft resolutions, reports, presidential and press statements. South Africa supported UNSC resolution extending the mandates of the UN peacekeeping missions in the Sudan (UNAMID), Cote d’Ivoire (UNOCI), the DRC (MUNUSCO) and the admission of the new state of South Sudan among others.

Furthermore, it should be noted that there are no contradictions between South Africa’s UNSC membership (vote on Libya) and our country’s role and efforts on conflict resolution on the African continent. It is for this reason that South Africa continues to advocate for alignment of the work of the AUPSC and that of the UNSC, pursuant to Chapter VIII (8) of the UN Charter on regional arrangements.

South Africa will continue to contribute towards peace and development on the Continent, including inculcating a culture of respect for human rights and sustainable development. These principles are fundamental to our foreign policy and every effort will be made to export them to our region, the Continent of Africa and the rest of the global village.

Reformed global governance institutions

South Africa actively engages various multilateral organisations and treaty bodies according to our national interest. These may be in the realm of international peace and security, humanitarian, environment, political or financial institutions.

South Africa has consistently advocated for fundamental reform of historically important global governance institutions relating to aspects such as their mandate, representation, scope, governance, responsibility, responsiveness and development orientation, in order to ensure that they are democratic and accountable, reflecting the realities of the 21st  century. 

After seven rounds of talks, the United Nations General Assembly inter-governmental negotiations on Security Council reform are at a stage where they are based on a negotiating text that the Facilitator of the negotiations, Ambassador Tanin produced. The text is a consolidation of all group and country positions on Security Council reform. Owing to the fact that the current text is a reflection of all group/country positions, it is long and repetitive.

South Africa’s engagements in the negotiation process remains informed by the African Common Position “Ezulwini Consensus.” This position does not provide parameters for negotiation as it was adopted in 2005 before the process moved to intergovernmental negotiations, which makes it important for Africa to reflect on the process thus far and to adopt negotiating parameters.

South Africa is intensifying its active role in processes that addresses issues of reform, restructuring, revitalisation, representivity, democratisation and strengthening of global governance institutions, as well as the consolidation of solidarity in the context of South-South cooperation and North-South partnerships. 


The UN officially declared famine in Somalia following an extended period of over six months of drought in the region. Half of the Somali population, 3.7 million people, is in a state of severe crisis, particularly in South-Central Somalia with an estimated 310 000 acutely malnourished children. I’m sure the pictures of these children touch the heart of each and every South African.

The famine in Southern Somalia is confounded by high food prices and the volatile political situation of the country which, in addition to the drought, has resulted in food shortages.

Heeding to a clarion call made in February 2011 by President Zuma when he endorsed a Comprehensive Strategy for Somalia through which South Africa will assist the country in bringing about socio-political stability through developmental programmes, including capacity and institution building, as well as through shared experiences of peace-building, South Africa has responded to a humanitarian crisis confronting that country by raising R8 million towards the famine relief programme.

We want to extend a vote of thanks to all individuals, civil society organisations and businesses that have contributed towards the relief efforts for Somalia. South Africa has called on all developed countries to visibly illustrate their commitments to development of this region by not only providing the necessary funds but also to keep their promises to invest in crisis prevention.

The partnership between government, civil society, private sector and ordinary citizenry formed in terms of the disaster relief in Somalia will also have a long-term impact in support of President Zuma’s Comprehensive Strategy for Somalia, particularly in the social development, education and health sectors.

Tourism impact

The theme for today’s briefing is ‘Play Your Part to Create a better South Africa and contribute to a better and safer Africa in a better World.’ The Play Your Part campaign was launched by the International Marketing Council (IMC) on 17 August 2011.

It is an active citizen campaign which emphasizes patriotism and the role that each and every South African can play to build Brand South Africa. As a cluster and as South Africans we want to emphasize that we are indeed playing our patriotic part in building Brand South Africa domestically and internationally and call on every South African to do the same.

South Africa's status as a premier global leisure tourism destination is now firmly entrenched in the wake of the 2010 FIFA World Cup when our global visibility reached unprecedented levels.  As a country we have already secured more than 200 events for the next five years. These events will attract some 300 000 delegates to our major business tourism cities and will contribute significantly to foreign direct spend into our economy.

In the aftermath of the economic recession, global buyers have become increasingly adept at driving down costs. Our task is to carefully nurture our value-for-money reputation and present diversified offerings to the business traveler. 

The National Department of Tourism is absolutely committed to working with the tourism industry in developing the potential of business tourism.  This sub-sector is ideally placed to address some of the seasonality challenges that are difficult to meet through leisure tourism alone. One of the most important building blocks we have put in place as part of our new growth plans has been the first ever National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS), which was approved by Cabinet on 2 March.

This ambitious strategy represents our commitment to intelligent planning and policy formulation. It was developed over a two year period in close collaboration with local and provincial government, an advisory panel of top industry minds, representatives of a variety of professional bodies, academia, tourism marketing agencies, civil society and the broader public.The NTSS also consolidates our strategic outlook for the business tourism sub-sector and outlines some of our plans to bring more business meetings, events and conferences to South Africa

We aim to increase the number of foreign tourist arrivals to South Africa from 7 million in 2009 to 15 million by 2020, tourism's total contribution to the economy from R189 billion in 2009 to R499 billion by 2020, the number of domestic tourists from 14.6 million in 2009 to 18 million by 2020 and to create 225 000 new jobs by 2020.

The 17th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 7th Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (COP17/CMP7), will take place in Durban from 28 November - 9 December 2011. COP17/CMP7 comes at a critical juncture in the negotiations given that the first commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, which commits developed countries to cut their emissions, is set to expire at the end of 2012.

South Africa is ready to welcome the UN and 194 world nations to Durban. Government is working closely with the UN to ensure that South Africa hosts an international event which meets UN requirements. The UNFCCC visited South Africa from 1–6 August and confirmed our country’s state of readiness. An Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) to oversee government’s preparations for the conference was set up earlier this year.

In order to achieve a balanced outcome, South Africa will inter alia require the operationalisation of the Cancun Agreements as well as commitment to deal with unfinished business from the Bali Roadmap and Action Plan.

As seen by the current tragic situation in Somalia, climate change is one of the greatest threats to sustainable development and demands that Durban at least puts in place necessary building blocks to deliver a balanced agreement that takes historical responsibilities into account. The citing by the International Energy Agency (IEA) of 2010 being the year with the highest recorded emissions demonstrates the urgency with which the world has to deal with climate change.

If climate change is not addressed, its impact will undermine the developmental gains that have been made since 1994 by South Africa, the SADC and the African continent to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). 

South Africa, through the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) leads the South African national delegation in pursuing the country’s interest at the COP17/CMP7 negotiations, is committed to developing unity of the African Group and a Common African Position in the negotiations.

Africa is the continent most affected by Climate Change and it is important that Africa continues to speak with one voice. A series of preparatory meetings by the African Group Negotiators have been held, with the last meeting held in Durban from the 8–10 August.

Square Kilometre Array (SKA)

We are just months away from the announcement of the final decision on Africa’s bid, led by South Africa, to host the world's most powerful radio telescope, the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) in Africa.

The bid has been fully endorsed by the General Assembly of the African Union. We are working with our eight African partner countries to prepare the final bid documents. From the core site the SKA layout will expand over eight other African countries which include Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia.

The SKA will collect in a week more information than there is in the entire internet and will require computers a thousand time faster than anything currently in use, so it presents huge technology challenges. We have already shown our world-class technology and science capability with the construction of South Africa’s MeerKAT radio telescope, which is a precursor for the SKA and is developing many of these cutting-edge technologies.

Africa has an outstanding site to host the SKA. The core of the SKA telescope will be constructed in South Africa, in the Karoo region of the Northern Cape, which is known for its topography, is sparsely populated and has a very dry climate. There is very little water vapour in the atmosphere over this area and little cloud cover, which are very good for the SKA’s operations.

Enhanced trade and investment

In order to grow economically,  South Africa must promote inbound and outbound trade and investment with targeted countries in support of the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP-2), using amongst other means, expanding and strengthening bilateral cooperation with individual countries in Africa and rest of the world through high level engagements and strategic bilateral and multilateral economic and trade partnerships.
South Africa will ensure the growth of its exports, in particular higher-value products and attract significant volumes of direct foreign investments into our country informed by a coordinated export, investment, communication and marketing strategy. From an export promotion perspective South Africa has put in place two strategies. The first is to keep the existing customers in traditional markets, using sustain and maintain strategies for well established markets. The second strategy is to focus on new high-growth markets from the continent and Asia. Both approaches are aligned to the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP-2).

I thank you.

Issued by Government Communications (GCIS)

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