Victoria Falls — International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said South Africa's re-election on Monday to chair the SADC organ for politics and defence Troika was an affirmation of the confidence the regional body has in Pretoria.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) 15 Heads of State and Government, who are meeting for their summit at Victoria Falls, in Zimbabwe, unanimously agreed that South Africa should chair the crucial Troika. The Troika is responsible for promoting peace and security in the SADC region.
Lesotho was scheduled to take over the leadership of the security organ from Namibia. However, it's believed the country's internal political problems led SADC leaders to give the position to South Africa.
"This goes to the respect and honour that our region and our continent accords to South Africa, respecting the leadership of South Africa in matters of peace and security. In politics they say respect for leadership is earned, you command leadership, you don't demand it," Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said on the side-lines of the summit.
She said SADC felt that Lesotho still needed to be "accompanies" to conclude the political consultation process in that country, but Lesotho remains the deputy chair of the Troika.
Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said South Africa continued to be concerned about the political instability in Lesotho where the parliament was suspended last year amid fears of a coup.
"South Africa, in line with our own foreign policy, champions the African agenda of peace, security and development. There's no way in which we could achieve a developmental state if our neighbourhood is not at peace with itself," Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said.
"That's why we respond to such calls for us to lead the organ on politics, defence and security," she said.
One of the key issues discussed at the two-day meeting was industrialisation and beneficiation of the region's mineral resources. About 28 key decisions have been taken at the summit and were scheduled to be communicated to the media late on Monday.