[I am fascinated by every aspect of what is happening here. There aren't many troops there, and the cost is interesting. It seems quite high. Jan]
The South African flag will remain part of the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) until at least mid-January.
President Cyril Ramaphosa as Commander-in-Chief of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) committed South African soldiers and materiel to the regional bloc force in July as Operation Vikela. That deployment of 1 495 military personnel was for a three month period which Ramaphosa told a SADC summit in the first week of October would be extended, without specifying a timeframe.
A Presidential letter, dated 15 October, to National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and apparently tabled at a meeting of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence (JSCD) today (Friday, 29 October), confirms the extension for a further three months.
It reads: “This serves to inform the NA I have extended the employment of 1 495 SANDF personnel for service in fulfilment of an international obligation of South Africa towards SADC (Southern African Development Community) in order to support Mozambique to combat acts of terrorism and violent extremists affecting Cabo Delgado province”.
The extension came into force on the date the letter was penned and ends on 15 January next year.
Ramaphosa’s letter indicates an “expected expenditure” of R984 368 057 for the three month extension. No indication is given whether the funding will come from the defence budget or National Treasury.
South Africa is one of five SADC countries, the others being Angola, Botswana, Lesotho and Tanzania, staffing SAMIM. A thousand Rwandan troops are also assisting Mozambique in efforts to stop the Al Sunnah wa Jama’ah (ASWJ) led insurrection in the northern part of the east African country.
defenceWeb will on 16 November examine regional and international efforts to counter the violence in Mozambique, through a new virtual conference, with the theme ‘Developing a multi-theatre approach to restoring peace in Cabo Delgado’.