Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Southern Africa: 'Fragmented' Response Hampers SADC's Fight Against Organised Crime

Southern Africa’s efforts to combat transnational organised crime (TOC) are being undercut by a lack of cooperation and coordination among its member states and differing law enforcement agencies, declared senior officials at the 28th annual general meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) chiefs of police sub-committee being held at Swakopmund this week.

Acting director of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Affairs, representing the executive secretary of SADC, Kealeboga Moruti, underlined the threats posed by TOCs to regional peace, security and development.

Citing the SADC 2022 threat assessment report, Moruti said: “it is, therefore, sad to note that as a region, our undoing when it comes to combating transnational organised crime is a lack of cooperation and coordination among member states and different law enforcement agencies”.

She noted that the members’ response to TOC is “fragmented”.

Moruti also drew attention to the increasing issues of illicit small arms, light weapons, and explosives as major enablers of TOCs. Member states were urged to effectively implement the SADC Protocol on the Control of Firearms, Ammunition and Other Related Materials. However, she voiced concern over the limited number of states that have ratified the agreement amending the protocol, emphasising that at least eight member states are required for the amended protocol to come into effect.

Despite these challenges, the gathering was not all gloomy. Moruti praised the progress made by the SADC Mission in Mozambique in restoring peace and stability in the province of Cabo Delgado.

“The mission demonstrates that we are indeed one SADC family where the ‘injure one, injure all’ mantra characterises and embodies our ubuntu philosophy that is ‘I am because we are’. United, we stand and divided, we fall,” she said.