Southern African Development
69. South Africa is a key member of the regional
Southern African Development Community (SADC). This organisation
was originally established in 1980, in part as an attempted counterweight
to apartheid South Africa, and its original membership of nine
has now grown to fourteen: Angola, Botswana, the DRC, Lesotho,
Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa
(which joined in 1994), Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
SADC's objectives include the promotion of development and economic
growth, the alleviation of poverty, the enhancement of the standard
and quality of life of the peoples of Southern Africa and support
for the socially disadvantaged through regional integration.
70. Since its foundation, SADC has developed a number
of different institutions and embraced a wide range of ambitious
programmes and targets. For example, the member states aspire
to create a free trade area by 2008, a customs union by 2012 and
a common market by 2015.
One recent development was the signing of a Mutual Defence Pact
in August last year, which aimed to promote regional co-operation
in politics, defence and security. This followed on from the establishment
of the SADC's Organ for Politics, Defence and Security, which
is intended to prevent conflicts and breakdown of law and order,
both between and within member countries.
71. Critics, however, frequently point to the gap
between protocols signed in SADC and their subsequent delivery.
In a recent article, Ms Anne Hammerstad, of the South African
Institute of International Affairs, highlighted this growing "credibility
gap" between the rhetoric and actions of SADC, particularly
in the field of security co-operation. She identified a number
of key weaknesses with the organisation, including, in her opinion,
its failure to engage fully with civil society and other non-governmental
organisations (NGOs) and its lack of a common vision and identity.
This was echoed by Dr Kibble who spoke of the need for a greater
72. Another key weakness of the organisation highlighted
in our inquiry, has been SADC's inability to deal effectively
with situations where member states disagreed or refused to be
bound by majority opinion. Keith Somerville highlighted the destabilising
role played by Angola, Namibia and Zimbabwe in the DRC, despite
the protestations of fellow SADC members such as South Africa.
A number of memoranda also highlighted SADC's unwillingness to
recognise the problems in Zimbabwe or to reprimand President Mugabe
in any way.
73. Mr Mullin expressed his particular frustration
at SADC's reticence on Zimbabwe:
We are rather disappointed; they betray a level of
ignorance that disappoints us. For example, last August they put
out a statement calling for the EU to end its economic sanctions
against Zimbabwe; there are no economic sanctions. Following the
Commonwealth Conference they put out another unhelpful statement
which, again, did not demonstrate a detailed knowledge of the
The Minister stressed, though, that the United Kingdom
was anxious to encourage SADC, and had offered them considerable
support as an organisation. This included the donation of a quarter
of a million pounds to help restructure its secretariat and a
further £11 million, over the next four years, towards supporting
the secretariat's regional trade and investment in integration
work. The FCO was also supplying a senior adviser on tax policy
for three years.
74. We conclude that SADC has the potential to
play a very valuable role in helping to solve many of the challenges
facing its region. If it is to realise this potential, however,
and to be taken seriously as a respected international organisation,
it must be willing to recognise the failings of member states
whose behaviour does not meet the expectations placed upon them
by SADC's high aspirations.
75. We recommend that the British Government continue
to work with South Africa, as a key player in the organisation,
to support SADC's work generally and encourage it to take seriously
its role in promoting good governance and respect for human rights.