The Portfolio Committee on International relations and Cooperation met with the Department of International Relations and Cooperation and the Department made presentations on Madagascar and Mali. There were eight apologies from Members who were unable to attend. Thus, the meeting did not meet quorum and the adoption of the Legacy Report and Committee minutes were deferred to the next sitting of the Committee.
The Department presented on the recent political developments in Madagascar, its bilateral relations with South Africa and made recommendations for South Africa’s political strategic focus with Madagascar.
Madagascar held Presidential elections in 2018 and after a run-off Andry Rajoelina was elected as president. The new president immediately reached out to South Africa by inviting of President Ramaphosa to his Inauguration which took place on Saturday 19 January 2019. Concerning bilateral relations, South Africa remained committed to the national reconciliation project of Madagascar considering the potential of the island. President Rajoelina had indicated interest in working with South Africa in various sectors. Cooperation has been also planned by South Africa for the capitalization of opportunities offered by the Malagasy Government.
Questions were raised on the history of political instability in Madagascar, its strategic significance to South Africa and concern was raised about the newly constituted Malagasy technocratic cabinet.
The Committee was also briefed on that the political developments in Mali and the Sahel region. The Presidential elections in Mali were won by Aboubakar Keita after a run-off election. The Algiers Peace accord remained of importance despite implementation difficulties. The Committee was informed that the main source of insecurity in Mali and the Sahel region was the absence of state authority in the occupied north, exacerbated by the weak state security machinery that has been weakened over a long period of time. The situation left the countries of this region increasingly vulnerable to insecurity resulting among others to increased armed conflicts, terrorist activities and failing to meet their development goals. Bilateral and trade relations with Mali were positive and South Africa’s had interest to keep interacting with Mali considering its gold resources and its support of the Algiers Peace Agreement.
Questions were also raised on France’s influence on its former colonies such as Mali, the characterisation of the Sahel region and Malian internally displaced persons. Concern was raised about illicit trade in Mali and the countries involved who benefitted from it. It was suggested that coordination between the Department of Trade and Industry and Department of International Relations and Cooperation be strengthened when it came to programmes of economic development, trade development and economic opportunities for South African businesses.
The Chairperson opened the meeting and welcomed the officials of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) who were present to make a briefing on the political developments in Madagascar and Mali. He also welcomed the Staff of the Committee’s secretariat present for the consideration of the Legacy Report.
Apologies were read out.
The Chairperson proposed that the agenda item on the consideration and adoption of the Committee Legacy Report and Committee minutes, considering the many apologies, be deferred to the next meeting when other members of the Committee are present.
Department presentation on the political developments in the Republic of Madagascar post Presidential elections.
The Chairperson called on Mr Ivan Vosloo, Acting Director: East Africa, DIRCO, to brief the Committee on the political developments in the Republic of Madagascar post Presidential elections.
Recent political developments
- Madagascar held presidential elections in 2018, with a first round on 7 November 2018 and a run-off on 19 December 2018. The run-off contest was between former Presidents Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina.
- The High Constitutional Court (HCC), on 8 January 2019, confirmed the final results with no changes. The objections and claims of irregularity and fraud lodged by Mr Ravalomanana were dismissed as lacking evidence and Mr Andry Rajoelina was declared the President-elect.
- The Inauguration took place on Saturday 19 January 2019 and was attended by Deputy Minister Luwellyn Landers on behalf of President Ramaphosa and the people of South Africa.
- Mr Christian Ntsay, was appointed as Prime Minister on 20 January 2019, and the members of the Cabinet were announced on 24 January 2019. The members of his Cabinet were not seasoned politicians but technocrats as he had promised in his campaign.
- South Africa continues to remain committed to the national reconciliation project of Madagascar considering the potential of the island. He stated that it is in this context that Special Envoys of Mr Ebrahim Ebrahim and Mr Roelf Meyer were appointed in May 2018, by the President, to ensure South Africa’s continued support of the process.
- He stated that President Rajoelina had indicated interest in working with South Africa in sectors which synced well with the Department of Trade and Industry’s focus in the island such as agribusiness and agriculture, mining, tourism, energy which are high potential sectors in the country. He added that discussion was already being made between the Foreign Minister and Trade Minister of Madagascar and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on how to facilitate the cooperation.
- He stated that Regardless of the difficulties the island faced, in 2018 the total trade was R4,12 billion and South Africa maintained a substantial trade balance with Madagascar of R 1.32 billion. Cooperation was also planned between South Africa for the capitalization of opportunities offered by the Malagasy Government for cooperation on security matters such as the provision of training to the military and police personnel, joint military exercises in the maritime borders, provision of defense and security equipment on commercial terms.
Recommendations for South Africa’s future political strategic focus with Madagascar
He said that the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) had been working hard to foster a partnership with Madagascar, in areas of shipbuilding, for the massive coastline, and to handle the problem of illegal fishing. The Ravinala Airport project would serve as an entry point into the Country for the DBSA, who wished to build on this to identify more projects for development.
He advised that South Africa, through the Departments of Trade and Industry, Tourism, Mineral Resources, Energy and Agriculture, make use of the invitation by the Malagasy Government to explore investment opportunities in Madagascar.
The Chairperson thanked Mr Vosloo for the presentation.
He sought a clarification on the history of political instability in Madagascar. He noted that there seemed to be a trend of post-electoral instability and crises in the political culture of the country and wanted clarity on the influences for of the political culture.
He noted that it seemed that the trend of electoral crises was most prominent in the former French colonies and asked to be advised on whether anything could be done by France to influence it or whether there even was a French influence on it.
He also asked about the strategic importance of Madagascar to South Africa and sought to be clarified on the gains of South Africa from its relationship with Madagascar. He wanted to know if there was some international organization such as the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) from where their relationship could be mutually beneficial and trade advantageous.
Furthermore, the Chairperson asked for the implication of the political settlement in Madagascar for the political scene there, i.e. does it mean that there will be an atmosphere of peace up until the next elections? He cited Lesotho as an example.
Lastly, he asked for clarification on the implication of the appointment of technocrats to the fortunes of Madagascar. He noted that could be a risk because the technocrats could be ignorant of the political structures and terrains and be overwhelmed by political players.
Mr Vosloo, on the question of the culture of political instability challenges, stated that unlike the previous leaders of Madagascar who were prone to violence, old and are beginning to be phased out, President Rajoelina was young and spoke to the new generation. He expressed doubt on any plans by, President Rajoelina to play politics and expressed hope to see a lasting period of peace.
On France’s influence on its former colonies, he stated that the French interest would always be present as it had business interests in resources in the Country such as in rosewood which was an ancient and endangered wood.
He stated that the previous Malagasy President had the support of the French at the beginning of his tenure but because he reached out to other countries like South Africa, China, and Russia the support weaned. He expressed doubt about whether France would be able to influence the new government being formed since France had not too long ago denied President Rajoelina a visa to see his family and as such their relationship may have been estranged.
Madagascar has been unable to play roles in the Southern African Development Community(SADC) region in the past due to its internal problems. However, considering the IORA they have been active and have reached out to South Africa for help in dealing with its big illegal fishing problem. There was also an understanding in the past for the building of ships, however, due to the interference of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which left the illegal fishing problem unabated.
The illegal fishing problem was not one faced only by Madagascar alone but also all the islands in the Eastern Coast of Africa. He mentioned that a problem faced by Madagascar along with Ocean Island countries on the eastern part of Africa was the absence of interregional cargo ships. He advised that the IORA and South Africa could assist in the provision of interregional cargo ships to boost trade, however, the issue of how funding would be obtained remained.
Asides the efforts of South Africa he mentioned that Russia and China have made efforts at partnering with Madagascar; however Chinese businesses were ejected due to allegations bordering on unfair labor practices.
The Chairperson suggested that these issues and information raised by the Department especially those on peace, stability, matters of national security and illegal fishing should be raised anytime engagements are made with other departments.
He also advised for there to be more conferment between the various departments and Committees of Parliament on international relations and economic partnerships and trade issues and not only oversight work. He commented that perhaps the ocean industry was not delivering like it should because of a lack of effort by most Colonial governments in the regard.
Mr Vosloo said that the South African shipbuilders’ associations were already making plans to forge partnerships on shipbuilding as well as capacity building in the region. He added that the sector of shipbuilding and development was a massive industry in the region and it involved the utilization of diverse skills and cooperating towards shipbuilding and maintenance in the form of a joint venture which would be profitable for the region. He advised that it was an initiative worth exploring but not by state enterprises.
On Madagascar’s strategic impact on South Africa, he said that because of the internal issues in the past it has not played a big role, however, he expressed hopes that with the new President things may change. He called for proper engagement with him on the matter.
Department presentation on the political developments in Mali towards the promotion of sustainable peace, human rights, and tackling the security and development challenges
Mr G Tsengiwe, Chief Director: West Africa, DIRCO, began his presentation on the political developments in Mali by commenting that he hoped South Africa took due advantage of the potential opportunities brought on by its diplomatic relations and expressed hopes that those efforts bore fruits.
He stated that the presentation would cover not only Mali but also the Sahel region, in order to give a regional perspective to the developments in Mali. He went on to highlight on the geography of Mali, stating that Mali was strategically located and shared borders with seven other countries. He explained that because of this, if there were crises in Mali there was usually going to be a spillover into its neighbours: Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Algeria, Niger, Mauritania, and Guinea.
He stated that likewise any development initiative in Mali always also influenced those neighboring countries, therefore South Africa’s interest to see success in Mali was welcomed as it also had some economic interests in Mali’s neighboring countries.
- The Presidential elections were won by Aboubakar Keita after a run-off election was organized because there was no outright winner. This implied that the “level of conversation” in the country at the time was tenser and there were worries that the opposition was not willing to accept the results, however, those worries were allayed by the candidate of the main opposition Mr Cisse, who reached out to the current president, and acknowledged his defeat.
- He noted this fact as significant to having a bearing effect on the future elections. He briefed the Committee that there is likely to be a referendum to create a Senate as part of the implementation of the 2015 Peace Accord, and the first and second round of Legislative elections 9 June and 30 June 2019 respectively. Furthermore, a municipal and senatorial election was expected in November 2019.
Algiers Peace Agreement
- On the atmosphere and roadmap to peace in Mali, he stated that the Algiers Peace accord and the reconciliation Agreement were the existing frameworks for peace in the region. The agreement was mediated by Economic Community of West African States(ECOWAS) between the Malian Government and northern armed groups and it was instrumental to elections being held.
- There were however, indications that some key elements of the agreement were not being achieved such as the disarmament and the formation of a security system. The atmosphere of insecurity in the region generally was a direct consequence of the destabilization of Libya.
- The implementation of this Peace Agreement was far behind schedule even though its agenda was ambitious given the conditions under which the armed groups and government of Mali concluded the agreement at the time, especially in the north. He added that one of the major challenges to lasting peace for Mali was that some rebel groups which were represented in process of signing the peace accords had ceased to be parties due to factional problems within their ranks.
- Some intractable matters such as the creation of development zone, regional assemblies, the establishment of a new integrated Malian Army and constitutional reforms were part of some of the outstanding matters that the parties to the agreement have given themselves to the end of 2019 to fully implement the agreement.
- The main source of insecurity in Mali and the Sahel region was the absence of state authority in the occupied north, exacerbated by the weak state security machinery that has been weakened over a long period of time by successive governments who were skeptical of a strong army following the coup in 2012.
- The current state of lawlessness in the north provided a conducive environment for various illicit trades in drugs, weapons and human trafficking exploited by terrorists to finance their violent activities. Which the collapse of Libya also contributed to.
- Despite the presence of various international actors such as the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), French Barkhane, G5 Sahel Joint Force and the European Union(EU) training mission, the security situation continues to deteriorate, spilling over to the centre of the country, as well as in the southern regions of Segou and Koulikourou, in a form of inter-communal violence. Terrorist groups continued to carry out attacks against all the foreign forces as well as Malian forces and civilians.
- He advised that beyond the initiatives sought to be pushed militarily through the African Union or the United Nations (UN), emphasis must be placed on economic development as the ultimate solution to the scourge of terrorism.
- The conflict continued to increase the number of internally displaced persons and refugees, while women and children were the worst affected. In some areas, violence resulted in extended suspension of the school attendance and undermines the healthcare services. Terrorist groups took advantage of the inability of the government to provide amenities and provided these social amenities which results in the local population being indebted to the terrorist groups consequently making it difficult for the locals to corporate with efforts to end the activities of terrorism.
He added that there was a South African who was kidnapped in the region while working for a gold mine owned by a person of Indian origin and located at the border of Mali and Burkina Faso. He said that the goldmine which was being used by the locals in the community where it was situated was licensed by the Government of Mali to the Indian company.
This formalisation of the ownership by the Malian government was perceived as a form of marginalization of their livelihood and as such led incidents of harassments by the locals leading to the eventual kidnap of the South African national. He noted that it was speculated that this case of kidnapping was a natural incidence of the influence of terrorism in the community as some of the locals who took him maybe terrorist elements. He added that this was an indication that there was an issue with defining who the enemy is as most of them have merged with the local population.
Security Situation —Sahel
- The Sahel region (which covers Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger) also faces particularly acute challenges such as extreme poverty, frequent food and nutrition Crises, harmful effects of climate change and irregular migration in and out of the region. The situation leaves the countries of this region increasingly vulnerable to insecurity resulting among others to increased armed conflicts, terrorist activities and failing to meet their development goals.
- Towards solving the problems of insecurity through a collective contribution in 2014, these five Sahelian countries, established the “G5 Sahel”, with its Head Quarters in Mauritania. They corporate with the other missions such as France's own 4,000-strong military presence in the Sahel, known as Operation Barkhane.
- The five Heads of State met at a Summit in Burkina Faso on 5 February 2019, to discuss amongst others the security challenges in the region to speed up the fight against terrorism. France was the strongest non-African influence in the G5 Sahel and there are efforts to contribute to mobilizing funds for the G5 Force.
- On the bilateral relations and interest of South Africa in the Region, Mr G Tsengiwe drew the mind of the Committee to the fact that South Africa and Mali established formal diplomatic relations in May 1994 at the early periods of South Africa’s democracy and there has been a number of engagements between the two countries. For example in 2001, former President Mbeki undertook a State Visit to Mali. After that, several Ministerial visits were undertaken, among others, engagements in the SA-Mali Timbuktu Project.
- President Ramaphosa and his Malian Counterpart, President Keita met on the margins of the 32nd Ordinary Summit of the Assembly of the African Union held in February 2019 and agreed to exchange State Visits. He proposed to the Committee that the Deputy President of South Africa interact with the deputy president of Mali to foster high-level interactions.
- In February 2019, the two countries signed the Visa Waiver Agreement for Diplomatic and Official Passport Holders that adds to existing agreements in the following fields: Economic Cooperation, Arts and Culture, Defence Cooperation and Transport. South Africa and Mali were currently considering concluding draft agreements in the fields of Health, Business Operators, Cooperation between the Respective Chambers of Commerce, Agricultural Research and ICT.
- Despite the challenges Mali is faces, the commercial centers and cities are relatively peaceful, as such the economy is speculated to pick up.
- The areas of interest in which South African companies are encouraged to consider investing in include uranium mining and processing, electricity generation, cotton spinning and beneficiation, agro-processing, cattle farming, transport infrastructure, waste management, leisure industry and management of natural parks.
- Mali is ranked the third largest producer of gold in Africa, after South Africa and Ghana as Gold is its primary export at 72% of total exports and its main foreign currency earner. He advised that this was why it is in South Africa’s interest to keep interacting with Mali. He added that the total trade between the two countries in 2018 was approximately R1 billion with the trade balance in South Africa’s favour.
- Mali’s total imports from South Africa amounted to R 976 347 895 in 2018 and Mali’s total exports were R 5 373 922 in 2018, mainly: petroleum, machinery and equipment, construction materials, foodstuffs, textiles. Some of the South African businesses operating in Mali include AngloGold/Ashanti, Rand Gold Resources and MTN Mali.
On the question raised earlier by the Chairperson on the influence/interest of France, he noted that Mali had uranium which is of strategic importance to France, as 80% of Frances’ energy was nuclear generated, which was primarily generated using uranium resources. He also noted that 30% of the Uranium in Mali’s neighbor Niger, is also bought by France and this has a bearing on the nature of French interest in the region. In addition, he said that there was a big Malian diaspora in France, numbering up to 5000 and as France clings to their former colonies and the former colonies also clings back for a variety of reasons such as a general perception held by those colonies that they are part of the French enterprise.
There are massive opportunities in Mali and the investment climate is business friendly. It is fairly easy to repatriate profits from Mali and Foreign businesses enjoy the same privileges as domestic companies. He added that Mali had a thriving Oil and Gas, agricultural and Tourism sectors and had a huge livestock enterprise which constituted about 30% of West African livestock.
The other players in the region were the United States which has maintained presence in the region by using the USAID as a catalyst to secure contracts, France (evidenced by the fact that Mali is one of France’s 16 priority countries) ,Canada, and Algeria (which has played a huge role in mediating between the Malian government and Tuareg Militias as they have an interest in the security of the border they share).
Reflections on SA’s engagements in Mali
- South Africa’s position in Mali generally, is to maintain its support for the peace agreement and calls on all parties to observe and implement the provisions of the Algiers Peace Agreement of 2015.
- He added that South Africa will respect the territorial integrity of Mali as a departing point for a peaceful resolution of conflict.
- South Africa supported the initiative taken by the five Sahelian countries in the establishment of the G5 Sahel Joint force.
- South Africa fully supports the partnership between MINUSMA and the G5 Sahel Joint Force to restore peace and stability in Mali and the wider Sahel region,
- South Africa continues to support the ongoing efforts by ECOWAS, the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) and EU in promoting peace and security in the region.
He also advised that South Africa should continue to play a pivotal role in the development of the Mali for the achievements of the joint agenda items on Mali and hopefully intercede on behalf of the people of that country.
The Chairperson thanked Mr Tsengiwe for his presentation. He said that it was unfortunate that the other Members were absent as they would have enjoyed the presentation and had inputs. The information shared in the presentation was also useful for members of Parliament who had different forms of engagements with the leadership of other countries, because it would assist their outlook on the continent, in addition to capacity building. He had always wondered whether Mr Tsengiwe could also address other party caucuses to keep them abreast on international and continental developments.
The Chairperson asked on characterization of the Sahel region, whether the region could be characterized in a different context from other parts of Africa, for instance could the Northern part of Mali be characterized in the same way as the Northern part of Nigeria or the Northern part of Chad where the dominant religion was Islam and the people are generally poor and are viable entry points for terrorist formations in whatever mutative guise, and whereas in the South it is relatively peaceful. He stated that the only issue with such a characterization was the sentiment which may be raised as to being Islamophobic. He added that it seemed that there was an agenda in those places that was characterized as such to impose Islam at the cost of peace. He cited an example of Sudan
He said that armed groups seemed to have an interest in the instability of communities where they were situated, which was usually where a government is unable to provide adequate security. He asked whether attempts have been made to ascertain the source of financing for the other armed groups and who the trade partners of those armed groups engaged in illegal mining or trade (in Ivory, Gold, Copper, Uranium etc.) for profit were. He added that that reason for the need to ascertain the source of financing was that, if it is established that the beneficiaries or trade partners of the armed groups were for instance big players in China, France, Russia, US, etc. then the chances of the insecurity caused by the armed groups getting solved was slim." He cited an example of the crises in Congo and Angola.
He said that if it could be ascertained who was financing the armed groups and where the trade was going such activities could be reported to the African Union and its Security Council could take a decision towards creating an offensive force in the regard.
He also noted that some of the peacekeeping missions have been accused of getting into crises torn regions and not going out probably because the soldiers have their earning increased for serving in those regions.
The Chairperson said that there are countries that have interests in South Africa being the police of Africa however; it was not South Africa’s interest to do that. He added that those countries held the sentiment that if South Africa worked with a country like Nigeria there could be progress whilst if this partnership was absent there would be continued problems.
This meant that even though the political colonisation of Africa may have ended the economic colonisation will continue. He went on to ask whether it could be said that the Malian State has collapsed because of the failure of its security forces, court and police to act to restore order. He went on to express his worry if that were to be the case.
The Chairperson on the issue of internally displaced persons in Mali and where they would move to, said that if about 5000 of Malian in the diaspora were in France did it not answer a question that the others were in neighboring countries.
He added that possibly a contributing factor to the problems around the growth of intra-African trade was the lack of infrastructure. The signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA) created an opportunity for South Africa and its companies, as the only diversified economy on the continent, to aid in delivering infrastructure in Mali.
On a final note, the Chairperson asked whether Mr Tsengiwe was of the view that the polity of Mali always had a feature of instability, electoral crises and, a rebellion amongst other things.
Mr Tsengiwe began by addressing the Chairperson’s last comment on the politics in Mali, reminding the Chairperson that for the longest time Mali was a model on the continent. He stated that the period from 1990 in which many countries experienced coups was different for Mali as they had several democratic transitions. He added that it was until they were faced with the Tuareg ethnic rebellion that the army stepped in complaining about the weak approach in which the government at the time responded to the rebellion. He said that after then Mali went on to hold democratic elections and moved fine from one government to the next.
On explaining the reasons for the instability, he noted that the collapse of Libya was a contributing factor.
The Chairperson asked in what way and Mr Tsengiwe responded that the collapse of the Gaddafi administration led to Libya, which was a rich Country and as such a magnet for foreigners, to fall into crises. He explained that a lot of Malians had, before the Libyan Crises, always moved between Mali and Libya for trade and some were even trained and worked there.
Gaddafi had been able to appease the many ethnic groups in Libya but his ousting led to the exodus of Malian in Libya along with Libyans into Mali during which an opportunity was spotted by terrorist groups. He explained that during the Libyan Crises there was a proliferation of arms as Gaddafi had an arms stockpile for his military and when the civilians fled Libya many of them went into Mali with these arms.
On the nature of internally displaced persons, he explained that most of the people were not just going to Libya but rather going through Libya into Europe. In Mali the Tuaregs (who are historically known to be anti-establishment) were speculated to have been overtaken by terrorist groups and that the arms from Libya enabled the terrorists to mix with the Tuaregs and radicalize them so much that the difference between the terrorists and the Tuaregs was difficult to ascertain.
He also noted considering Malian political developments, staging a coup will be difficult. He said that it would be correct to state that the ingredients of a failed state are found in Mali because the central feature of a failed state was the inability to secure its citizens. Mali has a huge area which was not very secure due to a range of complications such as ethnicity, religion and geographical location.
On the characterization of Mali in terms of the features of the North and the South, he said that it may not necessarily be the case in all countries, for instance, while in South Africa the Northern part is deemed to be more affluent in countries such as Nigeria. However, in Mali it is the opposite, the North is poor while the South is rich.
He drew the mind of the Committee to some demographic features to be conscious of. He stated that in terms of religion Mali was majority Muslim; however, the difference was that some regarded themselves as moderate while others are radicalised. Also, in Burkina Faso, 80% of the population was moderate Muslim whereas 20% were Christian (Catholics) however, despite the demographics in Burkina Faso religious tensions are inexistent. He stated that this was an indication that religious tensions were a result of the history of the Country and how the people there have been socialized.
On the potential for instability at a political level, he said that this was not anticipated as the political class seemed to have identified that they have a common enemy and fully understood that if they bickered amongst themselves they may not have a chance against the common enemy to guarantee stability.
He stated that there were two areas of relevance in Mali, first the area in which authority of the state is lacking and the others where there is state authority. He stated that it is encouraged that South African businesses start interacting with the part where the state has authority because there is a lot to be gained and it was in South Africa’s national interest.
On infrastructure, he stated that South Africa needed to capitalize and leverage on the goodwill it had with some of these countries, not just Mali. Juxtaposing this recommendation against the notion that France was the dominant player- he stated that in some instance’s countries like Ivory Coast, Ghana, and even Senegal have given South Africa free opportunities to invest, however, South Africa has failed to take advantage of these opportunities.
He went on to cite an instance of this was that even though Alassane Ouattara, President of Ivory Coast, was close to Nicolas Sarkozy he still often reached out to South Africa with opportunities, however, South Africa refuses to take advantage. In the same vein, Senegal has opted to use South Africa as a country of choice for the provision of medical services and Ghana in November offered South Africa oil blocks.
Considering the instances cited he advised that South Africa concentrates on how to promote its national interest in those countries and forget about the influence of other countries there. He added that the Malian President even called the South African President for another state visit and from there lies a range of opportunities.
On the issue of dealing with the source of funding of the rebel groups, he stated that on one hand there was an issue or problem of weak governance -often manifested by the inability to generate revenue so much that they rely on other governments for budget support- which in a way was due to corruption and the looting of the political elite. On the other hand, he stated that armed groups have found a means of self-funding by colonizing mines to generate funds. He stated that the challenge was that finding a way to suffocate the rebel groups by encouraging against their patronage. However, some of the elites are complicit in the patronage of the rebels and benefitted from their sale of mineral resources.
Some of the elites are part of the supply chain to the extent that some of them protect the rebels. He stated that the issue has become so complicated that in the region all the countries have in a way been affected by the insecurity in Mali including Burkina Faso, however, this was not the case during the regime of Blaise Compaore. He highlighted the point to give the Committee an understanding of the complexity of relationships around the region. He added that even some of the leadership in the region have been found to be complicit.
The Chairperson stated that he some read literature about the state of insecurity and leadership of the African continent and the African people generally. He always hated the narrative of the literature on Africa and it was only until he became chair of the Committee that he began to appreciate the extent of the omission of African leaders.
He stated that it is not enough to always blame Colonialism and Apartheid for everything but rather start asking what had been done about security and development since then. He advised that the discussion had to be continued in the other platforms when given the opportunity because the issues were worth raising.
Ms Lineo Mosala, Committee Content Advisor, informed the Committee that having listened to the presentation, it seemed like DIRCO was having frustration in the discharge of its work especially given that in the discharge of their duties they advise however, the other departments which are expected to respond do not always do as advised.
She stated that similar complaints had been made by the Department in other meetings and asked whether the Committee could explore ways to foster the harmonization of policies between the DTI and the DIRCO. She stated that due to this perceived frustration of the Department some advises are left hanging and needed attention. She said it was an issue which was worth following up on by the 6th Committee.
The Chairperson commended Ms Mosala for the recommendation and advised that it should be included in the Legacy Report, that there should be an increased conferment between the DTI and DIRCO as well as also between the Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry and the Committee when it came to discussing programs of economic development, trade development and economic opportunities for South African businesses.
He also stated that there was a weakness in Parliament in this regard and advised that it should be factored in as an issue for consideration by the 6th Parliament.
The Chairperson concluded by commending the general quality of presentation by the Department over the years and thanked Mr Tsengiwe and Mr Vosloo for their presentations and discussions.
The adoption of minutes and the evaluation of the Legacy Report would be deferred to the next meeting.
The meeting was adjourned.
Masango, Mr MSA
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