Sat, 25 Sep 2021

  • The SANDF deployment will be lowered from 25 000 to 10 000.
  • It will focus on KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and the Western Cape.
  • The 1 495 troops in Mozambique doesn't affect the internal deployments.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) deployment in South Africa, due to the unrest, will be decreased from 25 000 to 10 000 in the coming days, according to Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

She was speaking to the Joint Standing Committee on Defence on Thursday evening.

Mapisa-Nqakula also briefed the committee on the deployment of 1 495 South African troops to help quell an insurgency in Mozambique's northern province of Cabo Delgado.

According to Mapisa-Nqakula, papers are already on its way to President Cyril Ramaphosa to decrease the internal deployment.

She said the focus of the deployment would be on KwaZulu-Natal - which had borne the brunt of the violence last month - Gauteng and the Western Cape, which is plagued by taxi violence.

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"It's a fact that the deployment to Mozambique has not compromised our deployment here," Mapisa-Nqakula said.

Since 2017, a jihadist organisation, called Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamaah, has been waging a violent insurgency in Cabo Delgado. Last year, the violence escalated.

"A concerning high number of civilians and security force members have been killed and communities displaced," reads chief of joint operations Lieutenant-General Siphiwe Sangweni's presentation to the committee.

"The capacity of the security forces of Mozambique is stretched and struggling to cope."

There is a threat that the insurgency and instability could spread to other areas of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

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"The SADC has been seized with discussions at various levels over the past years to find a solution to the worrying security situation in Mozambique," said Sangweni.

"SADC Extra-Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Governments held in Maputo on 23 June 2021 approved a regional response and assistance to the Republic of Mozambique involving the deployment of a SADC Standby Force Mission to the Republic of Mozambique (SAMIM)."

President Cyril Ramaphosa was part of this meeting.

"Section 201(2) of the RSA Constitution provides for employment of the SANDF for service in fulfilment of its international obligations to international bodies and other states," said Sangweni.

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The South African deployment will be 1 495 personnel, at the cost of R984 368 057. The initial deployment period is 90 days.

Mapisa-Nqakula said the SADC funds the operation.

The plan was that the forces would be deployed on 15 July - but, according to Mapisa-Nqakula, a status of forces agreement was only signed by the evening of 14 July. This is a legal agreement to protect the deployed forces in another country.

The South African forces were only deployed on 17 July, according to Mapisa-Nqakula, the first of the SADC contingent to arrive.

Committee co-chairperson Cyril Xaba said it was critical to stop the threat in Mozambique before it spilled over to neighbouring countries.

"This threat must be extinguished right at source," he said.

Source: News24

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