19 November 2005. Thanks to A.
Welcome address by the South African Minister for Intelligence, Honourable Ronnie Kasrils, to the Official Opening of the Ministerial Session of the RSA/Zimbabwe Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security, Cape Town Lodge, Cape Town.
17 November 2005
Honourable Dydimus Mutasa, Minister of State for National Security, of the Republic of Zimbabwe; Honourable Sydney Sekeramayi, Minister of Defence of the Republic of Zimbabwe; Honourable Ministers & Deputy Ministers of South Africa Defence, Police, Correctional Services & Home Affairs; Honourable Reuben Marumahoko, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs of the Republic of Zimbabwe; Co-Chairpersons of the Senior Officials Meeting of the Joint Commission; Permanent Secretaries and Director Generals; Chiefs of Defence Forces, Chiefs of Police Services & Chiefs of Intelligence Services; Chiefs of Immigration, Revenue, National Parks & Home Affairs; Senior Government Officials and Government Officers of South Africa and Zimbabwe; Members of the Media.
On behalf of the South African delegation to the inaugural meeting of the South Africa-Zimbabwe Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security I would like to extend a warm welcome to the Zimbabwe delegation to this Ministerial Session in Cape Town, this morning.
In welcoming you we also acknowledge the solid work and progress made by the officials of the Joint Commission leading up to our meeting. Yesterday, I conveyed to the officials our recognition of their efforts and therefore, given the importance of our work, it is imperative that they receive our support and encouragement, as they prepare and support progress with regard to the outcomes of our deliberations.
Co-Chairperson, The establishment of a Joint Permanent Commission on Defence
and Security has been a longstanding objective of the Defence establishments
of both South Africa and Zimbabwe, since the idea was first mooted by the
Secretaries for Defence of both our countries
Consequently, a South Africa-Zimbabwe Defence Liaison Committee was established in terms of a Defence Co-operation Agreement signed on 21 February 1996, by former Defence Ministers of the Republic of South Africa and the Republic of Zimbabwe, the late Honourable Joe Modise and the late Honourable Moven Mahachi respectively.
At that time both former Ministers pointed out that cooperation between our two countries dated back a very long time, founded on historical ties, geographical proximity, linguistic and cultural affinities.
The history of the liberation struggles of Southern Africa and the resultant shedding of blood for a common cause was articulated as having cemented our cooperation on the way forward in the development of our respective countries and the region a whole.
This meeting takes place at an important time in our bilateral and regional relations. In addition to many significant developments between our two countries we have also played a significant role in the multilateral initiatives of Southern African Development Community (SADC), including the SADC Organ, the SADC Inter-State Defence and Security Committee (ISDSC), the SADC Brigade of the African Standby Force, the SADC Mutual Defence Pact and the Regional Peace Training Centre (RPTC) located in Zimbabwe.
The SADC Troika has also afforded both our countries the platform and opportunity for continuity of our joint efforts with regard to implementing critical foreign policy and Defence related issues, both multilateral and regional.
This week's historic meeting therefore further consolidates a longstanding socio-political and economic relationship between our two countries. Our purpose now seeks to ensure that the appropriate levels of stability and security for sustainable progress and development are in place.
Co-Chairperson, This first week of sessions of the Joint Commission will set the parameters of how we will work in future. Firstly, this Joint Commission will operate at two levels, the level of Ministers, and the level of officials appointed by their respective Ministers. Secondly, the focus of our work will be efficiently constituted through the following Committees: Defence; Public Security; and, State Security.
The specific objectives of the Joint Commission are threefold:
1. To identify areas of cooperation in the fields of Defence and Security;
2. To establish channels for the exchange of information and experience in the fields of Defence and Security, and any related matters of mutual interest; and,
3. To give guidance to the Committees on ways and means of implementing its decisions.
Co-Chairperson, We have quite an interesting and busy schedule today for delegates, officials and media here today. After this speech and photo opportunity for the media, we will gather before the media again at 12:30 to sign two Memoranda of Understanding.
The first Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of South Africa and the Government of Zimbabwe establishes the Joint Commission agreement through guidelines and operating procedures outlined earlier.
Today we will also be signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of South Africa and the Government of Zimbabwe relating to the provision of Air Force of Zimbabwe flying instructors to the South African Air Force (SAAF).
This initiative, involving the seconding of Zimbabwe's flying instructors to train SAAF pilots, aircraft technicians and support staff, follows a long tradition of training exchanges between our countries that included joint military exercises, peacekeeping training, defence management training, staff course visits, communication training, sporting activities and aviation safety.
The initiative also has an aim to accelerate interaction between SADC Air Forces and specifically the South African Air Force and the Air Force of Zimbabwe beyond development and support training. The highlight of the day will be the opportunity to take our guests to our naval base in Simons Town for a visit and brief trip on one of our new strategic acquisitions, the Valour Class Patrol Corvette SAS Mendi.
Co-Chairperson, In conclusion, South Africa's Minister of Defence, Honourable Mosiuoa Lekota, was not with us this week due to a recent medical condition. He is recuperating at a military hospital here in Cape Town and has conveyed his best wishes and support for the success of this very important meeting.
Further, the Surgeon General of the South African Department of Defence has reported that the Honourable Minister is making very good progress and should be ready to resume his formal duties in the near future. In turn this meeting wishes the Honourable Minister of Defence of a speedy recovery.
Co-Chairperson, With these introductory comments I take this opportunity to formally welcome the Zimbabwean Ministers and delegation to Cape Town and South Africa.
I thank you.
Issued by: Ministry of Intelligence
17 November 2005
News24 (SA), 17 November
Cape Town - South Africa and Zimbabwe have signed an agreement to strengthen defence and intelligence ties. The agreement was signed at a ceremony on Thursday, and emphasises solidarity between the two neighbours in the face of growing international condemnation of Zimbabwe. South African intelligence minister, Ronnie Kasrils, praised Zimbabwe's "advances and successes" in the 25 years since its independence from Britain. He said the two countries shared a "common world view" and would "march forward shoulder to shoulder". The comments are in stark contrast to the criticism heaped on Zimbabwe by most Western governments, which accuse Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe of bringing his country to the brink of economic and social collapse, and trampling on human rights. Zimbabwe's minister for national security, Dydimus Matasa, said the greatest threat to the southern African region's security came from outside "influences whose aim is to effect regime change especially with regard to countries led by former liberation movements". Zimbabwe has repeatedly accused its Western critics, the US and Britain in particular, of plotting against Mugabe's regime. Mugabe has found allies among movements in the region, such as South Africa's ruling African National Congress, that fought colonialism and white rule. Mugabe supported the ANC in the fight against apartheid. Kasrils said that South African now enjoyed multiracial democracy thanks to the "heroic people of Zimbabwe. This will never ever be forgotten by the people of South Africa."
South Africa, the heavyweight in southern Africa, is the most important ally of an increasingly isolated Zimbabwe. SA President Thabo Mbeki maintains his policy of quiet diplomacy is the only way to bring about economic and political reform. The agreement provides for a joint permanent commission on defence and security, boosting military, police and intelligence co-operation. It will also tackle specific areas of concern - such as cross-border crime and illegal immigration. There are about three million Zimbabweans living in South Africa, many of them without papers, seeking refuge from political repression and economic collapse. Under a separate agreement, Zimbabwe has also promised to send flying instructors to train South African air force pilots and technicians. Zimbabwe was one of Africa's most advanced countries, with a highly educated and trained work force.
It is now has inflation of more than 400%, mass unemployment and shortages of most staples. Analysts blame the meltdown in the agriculture-based economy on the chaotic and often violent seizures of more than 5 000 white-owned commercial farms since 2000. The United Nations estimates that at least four million of the country's 12.5 million people are suffering severe food shortages.
Cape Times (SA), 18 November
The intelligence ministers of South Africa and Zimbabwe took exception to a reporter's question on human rights at the signing of a bilateral agreement in Cape Town on Thursday. Zimbabwean minister Dydimus Mutasa called on defence and security officials from both Zimbabwe and South Africa to pray for the forgiveness of the journalist, who accused Zimbabwe of human rights abuses. It arose during the signing of two agreements between South Africa and Zimbabwe in which they agreed to establish a joint commission of defence and security and for Zimbabwe's flying instructors to train South African Air Force pilots.
The journalist asked intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils how South Africa, with a "good human rights track record", could sign agreements with Zimbabwe, who was said to have a "poor human rights record".
A clearly embarrassed Kasrils immediately apologised for the journalist's question. But Mutasa said the question was to be expected. "I just want to say that he (the reporter) doesn't have to apologise to us and that perhaps the best (is) that all of us here should agree to say to our honourable reporter is simply, to pray for him. "Lord forgive him for he does not know what he is saying," Mutasa said at the inaugural meeting of the South Africa/Zimbabwe joint permanent commission on defence and security.
"The liberation struggle was much more painful than the insults we are getting from some of these misguided creatures," Mutasa said.
Authoritative sources however said that Mugabe and his government were not taking any chances and were particularly concerned a senate election next weekend could provide a conducive environment for mass protests. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai who has urged supporters across the country to ignore the electoral route saying mass action was the only way to remove Mugabe from power - is also said to have further convinced the government and its security commanders that bickering in the opposition party may not have removed the threat of an uprising.
A source in the security forces, who cannot be named, said: "Tsvangirai is also fuelling their (the government) fears like when he told a rally in Bulawayo last Sunday that the only way to remove Mugabe was through mass action. "Operatives of the Central Intelligence Organisation (state spy organ) and the Police Internal Security Intelligence who were monitoring the rally highlighted Tsvangirai's remarks in their reports and the next day, on Monday, we were all put on alert." As part of the state of high preparedness, all soldiers and police were from the beginning of this week ordered to report for duty every day of the week including weekends.
Even those who are sick have been ordered back to their bases or camps
government doctors shall assess whether they can be put on active duty. Soldiers shall be required to remain on standby in their barracks or their normal residences. But the police will be out on the streets and have been instructed to always wear their full uniform and to carry baton sticks or their service weapons in an apparent show of force intended as a warning to ordinary people on the costs of revolting against the government.
An internal memo sent to police stations in Bulawayo province, a copy of which was shown to Zim Online, read in part: "With immediate effect all (police) members should report for duty every day of the week including Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays and shall be in full uniform and shall carry their points (baton stick or weapons) until further notice. No member shall be allowed to wear civilian or plain clothes even during weekends or public holidays. Every member shall be on standby for immediate deployment at short notice. The only members that are exempted from wearing uniforms are those that have letters from the Government Medical Officer stating so but even those should report for duty everyday. Those on sick leave, but who can work should also be followed up and brought back to work, under constant check from the Camp hospitals." The memo, signed by Senior Assistant Police Commissioner Lee Muchemwa, in charge of police in Bulawayo, was sent out on Tuesday this week and similarly worded memos have been issued by various provincial commanders to police in their areas, according to our sources.
Cape Times (SA), 18 November
By Basildon Peta
Zimbabwe is to remove all price controls with finance minister Herbert Murerwa admitting they have contributed significantly to the current hyperinflationary environment in South Africa's embattled northern neighbour, reports said. Zimbabwe's year on year inflation peaked at 411% last month. Murerwa told a pre-budget consultative meeting in Harare on Wednesday that market forces were now destined to play a bigger role in the 2006 budget, according to the Mirror newspaper. It is not clear whether the change of stance is a result of pressure from South Africa which has reportedly prescribed removals of most government controls in the economy as one condition for a US$470 million loan being negotiated with Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe imposed price controls in 2002 accusing manufacturers of seeking to sabotage the economy, and thereby spawn anger among the masses and incite an uprising against President Robert Mugabe. Murerwa has made no secret of his disdain for price controls since he took over at the finance ministry after the March parliamentary elections. The Zimbabwe government last week removed foreign exchange controls and its highly artificial foreign currency auction floors, leading to a major plunge of the Zimbabwe dollar against the greenback. One US dollar now fetches 90 000 Zimbabwe dollars on the official market. Zimbabwe's industry players have repeatedly railed against price controls and on many occasions ignored them amid threats from the government to arrest industrialists charging above the set prices for commodities.