Ecowas miffed at SA navy ship to I Coast

2011-02-08 22:53

Abuja - South Africa's decision to deploy a navy vessel to Ivory Coast is complicating efforts to bring a peaceful resolution to the country's post-election crisis, the West African regional bloc Ecowas said on Tuesday.

The comments add to rifts between African nations over how to resolve the election crisis where two rivals claimed the presidency after November 28 polls, with incumbent Laurent Gbagbo defying world pressure to hand over to Alassane Ouattara.

Ecowas has sent delegations to negotiate a release of power by Gbagbo and has threatened to remove him by force; but some African leaders are opposed to the group's warning.

South Africa has not directly endorsed Ouattara as president and could be a potential weak point in regional efforts to force Gbagbo to stand down.

"As we talk now there is a South African warship docked in Cote d'Ivoire. Now actions such as that can only complicate the matter further," the president of the Ecowas commission, James Victor Gbeho, said in Nigeria's capital Abuja.

Routine training cruise

The defence ministry said a naval ship had been deployed to West Africa as part of a training exercise, although it is ready for any "instruction and assistance" required by its foreign ministry.

"The department of defence confirms that the SA Naval ship, the SAS Drakensberg has been on a periodical routine training cruise along the West Coast of Africa since early January 2011 to train junior naval officers," a statement said.

The African Union met at the end of last month, agreeing to form a panel of heads of state to solve the leadership crisis and come up with a legally binding settlement within a month.

Gbeho said he was disappointed with the outcome of the African Union summit where some members looked to "unravel" some of what the West African group had achieved.

"The concern that some of us have is that apparently because of certain geopolitical interests, some countries are keen on awarding a failure mark to Ecowas at this stage so that they themselves would shine," Gbeho said.


Gbeho added that international solidarity against Lauren Gbagbo had waned.

"We find that others are encouraging Gbagbo not to yield ...," he told told journalists.

"The solidarity that started among us in the international community is fast being eroded."

  • Wonderboy - 2011-02-08 23:18

    So typical of Africa. Will always support their cronies no matter what.

      Simon - 2011-02-09 02:14

      Ecowas is actually pro the election result in Ivory Coast.

      pointblankza - 2011-02-09 12:17

      Another brainless ramble from wonderbra..

  • veld66 - 2011-02-09 01:21

    What is that ship doing there,???? hurting democracy

  • Hungwe - 2011-02-09 05:37

    Another shining example of Africa's inability to resolve political issues - in a democratic election there is a winner and a loser, end of story. Africa's leaders love to use the word democracy but they really haven't a clue what it means - aside from Botswana. And now with Mad Bob Mugabe as a mediator in the Ivory Coast, what a joke.

  • AJ - 2011-02-09 07:09

    Waste a crap load of money and worsen a situation further. Such an typical ANC move.

  • Brett - 2011-02-09 07:35

    The "Drakensburg" is a resupply ship?

      Proffie - 2011-02-09 07:44

      It is, a kind of tanker. Know the ship well from my Navy days in the 70's. It was never used as a training ship though, but with the present guvamint, anything is possible.

      Worldwise - 2011-02-09 08:03

      @Profile. You're thinking of the Tafelberg, which was scrapped about 15 years ago. The Drakensburg was built in 1987 in Durban by Sandock Austral/Dorbyl. Try googling the SA navy or the vessel itself.

      pointblankza - 2011-02-09 12:18

      Hahahaha, Proffie pwnd!!

      Radrodent - 2011-02-09 12:50

      He is definitely thinking of the tafelberg. I was one of the last people to do quartermaster duties on the Tafelberg back in 1993 when it was in the process of being decomissioned/dismatled. However, he is right about one thing, the Drakensberg is a resupply vessel an in no way a warship. What a croc of crap journalism.

  • Worldwise - 2011-02-09 07:59

    The Drakensberg is a supply vessel but is capable of embarking helicopters and a rapid reaction force. "periodical routine training cruise along the West Coast of Africa" my ass. I'll bet the Navy can't show where this was budgeted for or where it was diarised in the training plan. This will prove how "coincidental" it is that the vessel lands up in the Ivory Coast when they have a crisis there. With their budget cuts they can hardly afford to leave harbour and here we have a "Training cruise".

      pointblankza - 2011-02-09 12:20

      Aw then you went and ruined itby assuming things.... Why not speak to the navy and ask them if there is a budget or planned training. Remember, assumptions is the mother of all f#$%ups..

  • WiseOwl2 - 2011-02-09 08:20

    Africa... a continent doomed to self destruction !!!!

  • Al-Jackal - 2011-02-09 09:07

    Last month sometime there was an article explaining that the SA government is sending the Drakensberg to the Ivory Coast to evacuate SA citizens if necessary. Think its just a precautionary measure, it is the governments job to look after its people after all. Think the misinformation can be attributed to the shoddy journalism. Other than that I don't see any problems with this.

      pointblankza - 2011-02-09 12:21

      Yup, of course the usual suspects will go from blaming the ANC to Steve Poffmeyer..

  • chi chi - 2011-02-09 09:13

    South Africa government must be very careful of what they are doing because is like this Zuma don’t understand democracy , how can he approve such a thing? Is like he is an old friend to Mr. Gbabo or what ever he call his name. I think he have intention a doing such a thing if he lose an election in future.

  • chi chi - 2011-02-09 09:16

    This president that is making a comment that is dividing his country. Now they want to send another bad msge

  • daboss247365 - 2011-02-09 09:22

    When the ship was grounded, there was outrage at the uselessness, lack of training, lack of response, etc.. The ship is now out on cruise, to a potentially volatile area, both training, on stand by for civilian as well as possible military support, and there are complaints again... Come on guys, make up your minds.

      Will2.0 - 2011-02-09 11:10

      It's simple, daboss - the minds are made up and it's like this...the powers that be (read Government or ANC) can't do anything right. They are damned if they do and damned if they don't

      Worldwise - 2011-02-09 12:14

      @Daboss247365. Since when do you send a ship with untrained personnel to evacuate citizens from a trouble spot somewhere in the world? If the personnel are trained, why do they meed a "training cruise"? Its the spin on the story that has got the readers commenting, not the fact that the ship is in Ivory Coast. Princess Sisulus' deprtment needs to start telling the truth and not hiding it from the citizens of SA. We're not all as dumb as she thinks.

      bruce.curtin - 2011-02-09 13:41

      @Worldwise. You assume that only new personnel train in the navy? It is standard practice in the military (all militaries) to constantly be training your personnel, not matter how experienced they are. Skills are always being honed. To be stationed on the Drakensberg and deployed implies that these are trained naval personnel that are honing their skills by actually sailing in the most likely neighborhood that they would be called to in the event of a crisis. We potentially face an evacuation from Ivory Coast amidst a military intervention from outside forces or a civil war. Combining standard and much needed training exercises with sending the most appropriate asset to a theater of conflict looks like a rare efficient use of the navy's budget. Or I suppose you'd rather we sent the Drakensberg to somewhere completely irrelevant (like the Antarctic) and then have to scramble to find another ship less well suited to the task at hand to send to West Africa when all hell breaks loose?

  • chi chi - 2011-02-09 09:23

    One thing we must know is that power is like a drug when people get addicted to is it will very had for them to leave it or to hand over to another person, i think Mr. Zuma have intention of a such that us why he is supporting a loser. Mr Gbagbo must go if he loses the election why our leaders use court to win election? Because they know they have people there that will protect them.

  • chi chi - 2011-02-09 09:25

    One thing we must know is that power is like a drug when people get addicted to is it will very had for them to leave it or to hand over to another person, i think Mr. Zuma have intention of a such that us why he is supporting a loser. Mr Gbagbo must go if he loses the election why our leaders use court to win election? Because they know they have people there that will protect them.

  • saliem - 2011-02-09 10:20

    No Naval vessel can be deployed to any foreign port unless the Foreign Affairs Department has mandated it. It is almost certainly not a planned "training cruise" as stated; the chances of that to this particular destination (at this time) are zero. And if the navy wants to deploy for training purposes, there are alternatives that are far less costly. If it is by some chance a planned training exercise it is a huge waste of taxpayers money.

  • cumsta - 2011-02-09 11:48

    Gbeho got it wrong. Drakesburg as a supply ship went there only to evacuate europeans that may need help in case of war break out. It is a partnership between Europe and South Africa.

      Worldwise - 2011-02-09 12:22

      @Cumsta. The Europeans have far bigger Navies and many more ships than SA. If they were to evacuate their people, they would send their own ships. WHy would the Europeans need to rely on South Africa that can only manage to provide one ship to evacuate their citizens? So the president of the Ecowas commission, James Victor Gbeho, has the wrong story completely and you know the facts? I don't think so.

      pointblankza - 2011-02-09 12:23

      They will not evacuate europeans, South Africa will be there to evacuate South Africans. Europe will send their own ships and planes...

  • Spade - 2011-02-09 12:45

    I think they just got lost...

      Worsie_Se_Pa - 2011-02-09 16:04

      Brilliant comment! LOL

  • Dali - 2011-02-12 08:48

    Pr Gbagbo is the winner of the elections in Cote d'Ivoire. Firstly, the north of the country is occupied by a rebellion created by M. ouattara and Soro.During the elections they intimidated,rapped and killed Gbagbo's representatives. How come no one voted for Gbagbo in 7 regions and exactly where the rebellion is? There was a big fraud in the north. Millions of people who was not registered for vote voted for Ouattara.Pr Gbagbo is a historian, nationalist and panafricalist that's why USA and EUROPE don't like him. They want to put their puppete M. Ouattara to give them all the ivorian ressources. They can't do the dirty job themselves that's why they want some africans to kill other africans when Pr Gbagbo is asking for dialogue. He said the international community must come and check all the electoral process and find the truth and they say we don't want, Ouattara has won. M. Ouattara doesn't love Ivory coast, he wants to rule the country and he's asking foreign forces to fight the ivorian army and the ivorian people. Africans let's wake up. We have to support Gbagbo.

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