Ramaphosa extends SANDF deployment to Mozambique by a year, at cost of R2.8bn

SANDF troops ride along a dirt road in the Maringanha district in Pemba, Mozambique.
SANDF troops ride along a dirt road in the Maringanha district in Pemba, Mozambique.
Alfredo Zuniga / AFP
  • Cyril Ramaphosa extended the SANDF's deployment to Mozambique for a year - at a cost of R2.8 billion.
  • This is the longest SA's contingent to the SADC force has been extended.
  • It follows a decision by the SADC in January to extend the deployment indefinitely.

President Cyril Ramaphosa extended the deployment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in Mozambique for a year, at a cost of R2.8 billion.

This is the longest extension of the deployment by Ramaphosa.

He initially deployed 1 495 SANDF members in July last year. This was extended by three months in October and then again in December.

In March, he extended the deployment by one month, from 15 March to 15 April.

READ | Special SADC force neutralised insurgents in Mozambique, says Ramaphosa

Ramaphosa is legally required to inform both Houses of Parliament when he deploys the military. His letter to National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula is dated 14 April.

"1 495 members of SANDF were employed [sic] to support the Republic of Mozambique to combat acts of terrorism and violent extremists affecting the northern areas of Mozambique," Ramaphosa wrote.

"The extension of the employment [sic] is for the period of 16 April 2022 to 15 April 2023."

Displaced women meet at the Centro Agr‡rio de Napa
Displaced women meet at the Centro Agr‡rio de Napala where hundreds of displaced arrived in recent months are sheltered, fleeing attacks by armed insurgents in different areas of the province of Cabo Delgado, in northern Mozambique.

Ramaphosa said the deployment was in accordance with the Constitution and Defence Act.

"The expenditure expected to be incurred for this employment amounts to R2 794 649 682.00."

READ | Forces are 'disrupting' insurgency in Mozambique - but fight is not over, says SANDF chief

Since 2017, a jihadist organisation, called Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamaah, has been waging a violent insurgency in Cabo Delgado. 

In 2020, the violence escalated.

Apart from the SADC deployment, the Rwandan defence force was also supporting the Mozambican defence force.

By February, close to a million people had been displaced by the conflict, with the death toll at more than 3 000.

Mozambican soldiers (R in green) and Rwanda police
Mozambican soldiers (right) and Rwanda policemen in Pemba, Cabo Delgado province, Mozambique.

In June 2021, a Southern African Development Community (SADC) Extra-Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Governments, held in Maputo, approved a regional mission to assist Mozambique, called the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM).

The South African forces are part of this mission, along with soldiers from Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia.

The initial deployment was until October 2021.

READ | SANDF deployment in Mozambique extended indefinitely, could cost taxpayers R3bn

Then, in January, the SADC heads of state summit, in Lilongwe, Malawi, resolved to extend SAMIM's deployment indefinitely.

Last week, Ramaphosa addressed a SADC's extra-ordinary summit, which included the countries contributing to the SADC force in Mozambique, in his capacity as chairperson of SADC's organ on politics, defence and security cooperation.

According to TimesLive, he said there had been some successes, but also some challenges in the military operation.  

A communiqué from the summit states that it approved "the transition of SAMIM from Scenario 6, (Rapid Deployment Capability) to Scenario 5 (Multidimensional Force), with a robust mandate".

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