Zuma assumes leadership of SADC troika
18 August 2011
South African President Jacob Zuma has assumed the chairmanship of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) troika of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security.
Zuma was elected to take over as chairman from Zambian President Rupiah Banda when the regional leaders met for a two-day summit in Angola on Wednesday.
In a statement, Zuma said South Africa was honoured to lead the troika – comprising SA, Mozambique and Zambia – and would build on the good work done by the previous chair.
"We are going to continue taking critical steps of creating conditions for peace, stability and good neighbourliness as a prerequisite for regional economic integration," Zuma said.
"We will continue to render whatever assistance and support necessary to the people of Zimbabwe, Madagascar and Lesotho, as well as to support the post-conflict reconstruction efforts in the DRC [Democratic Republic of Congo]."
Zuma took over as chairman of the troika despite reported protests by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his delegation. According to media reports, Mugabe said Zuma could not be the SADC's facilitator on Zimbabwe and troika chairman at the same time.
Members of the SADC troika met on Tuesday, ahead of Wednesday's summit, to receive Zuma's report on Zimbabwe.
The report contains details of talks about the roadmap designed to pave the way for free and fair elections in that country.
Zimbabwe and the political and security situation in the region featured prominently in the SADC debate on Wednesday.
Zimbabwe and Madagascar have been on SADC's agenda for a long time, and the leaders are pushing to resolve the situations in those countries to secure what has proved to be elusive regional stability.