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PRESENTATION ON THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DRC) Presentation by Deputy Minister Ebrahim to the Portfolio Committee on International Relations and.

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Presentation on theme: "PRESENTATION ON THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DRC) Presentation by Deputy Minister Ebrahim to the Portfolio Committee on International Relations and."— Presentation transcript:

1 PRESENTATION ON THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DRC) Presentation by Deputy Minister Ebrahim to the Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Co- operation, 22 May 2013

2 Political and socio-economic situation in the DRC Significant progress has been achieved in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) over the past decade. The local and regional peace processes initiated at the time laid the foundation for relative peace and stability in large parts of the country. However, eastern DRC has continued to suffer from recurring cycles of conflict and persistent violence by armed groups, both Congolese and foreign. The consequences of this violence have almost been devastating. Acts of violence and serious violations of human rights are used regularly and almost daily as weapons of war. Displacement figures are among the highest in the world and hover near two million people. This happens notwithstanding the presence of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission (MONUSCO). The DRC remains a weak state, recovering from a series of civil wars and bad governance. The country is still unable to extend state authority over its territory, particularly in the east of the country. Despite these challenges, the recent crisis has created a window of opportunity to address the root causes of conflict and put an end to the recurring cycles of violence. 2

3 Political and economic situation continued 3 DRC is endowed with mineral and natural resources. The country is one of the world's leading producers of copper and cobalt (mainly from the Katanga Province) and is a sizeable producer of diamonds, gold and rare earth metals. Mining is the country's biggest total export earner. However, the country’s economic potential is being impeded by varied of issues including limited government control over the entire territory, rebel activities, etc.

4 International and regional response to security challenges in the DRC There is increasing recognition that the current path is untenable. Regional (African Union, International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and international bodies (United Nations) are continuing their efforts to find lasting solutions to instability in the eastern DRC. This renewed engagement is a positive development for the sub-region's security prospects. One of the regional initiatives, under the ICGLR, involves the “Kampala talks”, where the Ugandan Government is facilitating talks between the DRC Government and the M23 (Mouvement du Mars 23) militia group who invaded Goma, the capital city of the North Kivu Province, during November M23 has since withdrawn, as a precondition of the talks, but continues to present security threat. The essence of their demands are reintegration into the army and political participation. The reported clashes between M23 and the DRC national army, FARDC are worrying and a clear demonstration of the continued security threat presented by the rebels. 4

5 African Union and United Nations: Framework Agreement On 24 February 2013, a signing ceremony for the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Great Lakes Region was held in Addis Ababa. Aside from South Africa, other countries that took part in the ceremony were Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, DRC, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The Secretary-General of the UN and the AU Commission Chairperson signed as witnesses and guarantors along with the chairpersons of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and SADC. The Framework Agreement articulates a set of commitments by the DRC, the region and the international community. For the DRC Government, it calls for renewed commitment to continue and deepen security sector reform particularly with the Army and Police; consolidation of State authority particularly in the eastern DRC to prevent armed groups; make progress with regard to decentralisation; further economic development expanding infrastructure and delivery of social services. 5

6 Framework continue For the region, it calls for commitment not to interfere in internal affairs of neighbouring countries, not to provide support of any kind to armed groups; respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of neighbouring countries; respect legitimate concerns of neighbours; promote economic cooperation. For the international community, the Security Council would remain seized of the importance of supporting long-term stability of the DRC and the region; Oversight mechanism established to support this process. 6

7 Intervention Brigade On 13 April 2013, when the mandate of MONUSCO (the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in the DRC) was extended by another year, it was announced that a UN Intervention Brigade (IB), comprising of 3, 069 troops shall be established. The “Intervention Brigade” will consist inter alia of three infantry battalions, one artillery and one Special force and Reconnaissance company with headquarters in Goma, under direct command of the MONUSCO Force Commander. Under UN Resolution 2098, the main responsibility of the Intervention Brigade is to neutralise armed groups with the objective of reducing the threat poised by armed groups to state authority and civilian security in the eastern DRC. The Intervention Brigade is expected to carry out targeted operations, either unilaterally or jointly with the FARDC, in a robust, highly mobile and versatile manner and in strict compliance with international law. MONUSCO and its Intervention Brigade to take all necessary measures to perform the following key main tasks: (a) protection of civilians, (b) neutralise armed groups, (c) monitor implementation of arms embargo (Group of Experts) established through various resolutions, 2078 (2012); 1533 (2004).. 7

8 UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region Mrs Mary Robinson, former Irish President and UN Human Rights Commissioner, has been appointed as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region. Her main role is to support efforts to reach durable solutions in a multi-track plan that allows the convergence of all initiatives in progress. She will work closely with the Oversight Mechanism in support of the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework on the DRC which calls a “Framework of Hope”. 8

9 Contributing countries to the Intervention Brigade Thus far only Tanzania, Malawi and South Africa that have pledged troops to the Intervention Brigade. There is a need to encourage other SADC countries to contribute troops to the Brigade in keeping with 8 December 2012 SADC Extra Ordinary Summit decision during which SADC decided to deploy in the eastern DRC as a bloc. Noting that M23 has publicly threatened to engage the Intervention Brigade, there is a need for the international community to condemn M23’s utterances. 9

10 Southern African Development Community (SADC) The latest Summit of the SADC Troika of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation took place in Cape Town on 10 May The Summit considered the political and security situation in the region, amongst others the latest developments in the Democratic Republic of Congo. On the DRC, the Summit received a progress report on the deployment of the Intervention Brigade in the eastern DRC. Summit welcomed the adoption of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2098 of 28 March, 2013 which provides the mandate for the deployment of the Intervention Brigade (IB) in the eastern DRC under the auspices of MONUSCO. Summit noted with appreciation the continued collaboration between SADC and the ICGLR, including the African Union and the UN on the deployment in the Eastern DRC. Summit urged the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the M23 to continue with the Kampala Talks with the view to concluding them expeditiously, to allow the people of the Eastern DRC to live in peace. Summit reiterated its call for urgent attention to be given to the grave humanitarian situation in the Eastern DRC. 10

11 South Africa’s bilateral relations with the DRC South Africa and the DRC signed a General Cooperation Agreement on 14 January The main objective of the Agreement is to promote political, economic and social cooperation between the two countries. This Agreement made provision for the establishment of the Bi-National Commission (BNC) as an annual strategic forum for exchange and dialogue between the two countries at the Heads of State level. Over the years, the focus of the BNC has been on Post Conflict Reconstruction and Development (PCRD), essentially assisting the DRC with Security Sector Reform (SSR); institutional capacity building (training of diplomats and civil servants, public servants census, etc) and economic development through projects like the Bas Congo Spatial Development Initiative (SDI). In line with South Africa’s strategic objectives and engagements in the DRC, a number of Government Departments are involved in various capacity building programmes. These include: Department of International Relations and Cooperation that assists in the diplomatic training of the DRC diplomats. Training the diplomats of a country is an important and strategic task that is entrusted with South Africa. 11

12 South Africa’s bilateral relations with the DRC Department of Public Service and Administration which assists with public servants census as well as anti-corruption framework. The public servants census project has covered all but two provinces. This is one of the highlights of South Africa’s institutional assistance programmes in the DRC, a programme which has enabled the DRC Government for the first time to know the numbers of its public servants. Through this project, a number of ghost workers were discovered and thus the DRC Government has freed financial resources. The project is being rolled over to the remaining two provinces. Department of Defence and Military Veterans which is at the centre of South Africa’s assistance to the DRC assists with training and integration of various security establishments through demobilisation, disarmament and reintegration of militia members to civilian life and formal security structures. South Africa is charged with an important task of developing the DRC’s military doctrine. This is an envious assignment entrusted with South Africa. President Kabila requested the South African Government to train new recruits for the DRC army. SANDF will start training in May South African Police which has trained DRC police and facilitates the development of the regulatory framework for policing. Department of Trade and Industry is assisting in the development of viable economic projects including SDIs. Public Administration, Leadership and Management Academy (PALAMA) that is assisting in the establishment of a National School of Public Administration as well as training of senior public servants. 12

13 THANK YOU 13


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