The SADC Organ for Politics, Defence and Security meeting that is taking place today kicks off with the meeting of the organ’s senior officials in the morning, followed by the Ministerial Committee of the Organ.
The Organ was launched in June 1996 as a formal institution of SADC with the mandate to support the achievement and maintenance of security and the rule of law in the SADC region.
The mandate and activities of the Organ are drawn from the SADC Treaty, the Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation and the Strategic Indicative Plan for the Organ (SIPO) II. Within the structure of the SADC Secretariat, the Executive Secretary oversees the activities of the Organ. The general objective of the Organ is to promote peace and security in the region.
The Troika system operates at the level of the Summit and the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, and the application of two Troikas is referred to as the Double Troika.
The current SADC Troika comprises President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and the Chairperson of SADC; Namibian and incoming chair President Dr Hage Geingob, and previous Chair King Mswati III of the Kingdom of eSwatini.
The Troika for Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation consists of the current chair, President João Lourenço of Angola; and the Zambian President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, the incoming chairperson as well as President Dr John Joseph Magufuli of Tanzania as outgoing Chairperson of the Organ.
As per the SADC Secretariat, in terms of the SADC Treaty and Article 4 of the SADC Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security the Troika System vests authority in this group to take quick decisions on behalf of SADC that are ordinarily taken at policy meetings scheduled at regular intervals, as well as providing policy direction to SADC Institutions in between regular SADC Summits.
As earlier as August, President Lungu has already charted his course as the new Chairperson, having pledged to provide consultative leadership to ensure sustained peace and security in the SADC region.
During his meeting with SADC Executive Secretary of SADC, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, at State House in Lusaka on August 3, expressed his readiness and commitment to regional peace.
He promised to tap into the experience and knowledge of his predecessors as well as other regional Heads of State and Government to ensure durable peace and stability in the region.
During the meeting, the Zambian leader noted the progress on the establishment of the SADC Regional Logistics Depot in Botswana.
During their meeting in 2006, the SADC defence chiefs agreed to establish the logistics depot and the project has since been allocated 19 hectares of land in Rasesa within the Kgatleng Tribal Area of Botswana.
The facility will be serving as a warehouse of general purpose equipment for the police, military and civilian components of the SADC Standby Force.
The members of the Organ for Politics, Defence and Security Organ in consultation with the Troika of SADC are is responsible for the overall policy direction and achievement of the objectives of the Organ, of promoting peace and security in the 16-member regional body.
One of the major tasks awaiting the Organ is to oversee and support the preparation and holding of upcoming national elections in Botswana, THE Democratic Republic of Congo, eSwatini, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa.