Harare – SADC must take stock of progress made towards achieving economic emancipation as the region marks Southern Africa Liberation Day.
SADC observes the day on March 23 of every year, starting in 2018 as per a decision reached by Heads of State and Government in Windhoek, Namibia.
The day was selected as it was on March 23, 1988 that Angolan, Namibian and Cuban soldiers scored the decisive victory in the Battle of Cuito-Cuanavele, which marked a huge sea change in the fight against apartheid.
In a statement today, SADC Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Tax said thousands of people had lost their lives as they fought oppression and advanced the cause of emancipation.
“As we commemorate this day, we must take stock of the strides our region has made towards obtaining our objectives of ‘Towards Economic Liberation’, and thus, our shared vision of a common future which will ensure advancement in economic well-being and the standards of living and quality of life of our people, freedom and social justice, and peace and security, and thus the SADC we want,” she said.
“While we note and celebrate the recorded achievements, we need to remain mindful that we are yet to be fully liberated, until we win the economic liberation battle and attain full economic independence. To accelerate our socio-economic development, in a sustainable manner, for the benefit of SADC citizens, let us all, commit to the SADC Vision 2050 and the implementation of the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan 2020-2030, which are based on a firm foundation of peace, security and democratic governance, and premised on three interrelated pillars: namely, industrial development and market integration; infrastructure development in support of regional integration; and social and human capital development; without losing focus on gender, youth, and environment and climate change as critical cross cutting issues.”
Dr Tax called on the region to remain united “and condemn in all possible ways, all forms of peace and security threats, including cyber-crime, terrorism, extremism and hate speeches, which threaten to reverse the gains made towards peace, security and economic development in the Region. SADC remains committed in ensuring that peace and stability is sustained”.
She also said operationalisation of a mechanism to honour SADC’s founders, approved in August 2019, should be expedited.
The SADC Executive Secretary also paid tribute to Tanzanian President Dr John Pombe Joseph Magufuli who died last week.