There was a time prior to now when the approaching hum of helicopter blades menacingly hovering over defenceless communities or the thud of shoes on the bottom, would encourage dread and conjure up photos of loss of life and destruction. Earlier than South Africa’s epoch-making democratic breakthrough in 1994, lots of its neighbours fell sufferer to this most atrocious and racist army harassment by the then apartheid authorities.
This ugly historical past of repression was characterised by random cross-border army assaults by the apartheid defence drive which resulted within the brutal killing and maiming of harmless folks in these nations.
The democratic South Africa has, nevertheless, since cast a brand new path constructed on the elemental ethos of humanity, collective solidarity and hope for a greater tomorrow. It embraced the posture of offering the required socio-economic and political help to its neighbours and the complete continent.
In August 1994, the nation joined the Southern African Improvement Neighborhood (SADC), whose objective is to additional socio-economic cooperation and integration in addition to political and safety cooperation. Each the African Union (AU) – a continental union comprising 55 member states – and the SADC, have led life-changing socio-economic growth efforts within the continent.
Right this moment, South Africa is proudly a member of the worldwide group, and is consistently striving in direction of creating a greater Africa and higher world. Since 1994, South Africa has used its personal expertise of nation-building to help in brokering peace in numerous conflicts and has sought to silence the weapons as a member of the AU.
South Africa has additionally undertaken numerous humanitarian missions in help of its neighbours within the continent. One such memorable mission happened in 2000 when members of the South African Air Pressure rescued the folks of Mozambique affected by devastating floods, significantly the pregnant lady who was clambering up a tree within the midst of the flood-ravaged waters.
The nation once more assisted its neighbours in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, following the devastation wrought by Intense Tropical Cyclone Idai in 2019. This drive of nature impacted greater than two million folks and displaced tons of of 1000’s of them, destroyed huge areas, minimize off communications and made roads impassable for first responders.
South Africa joined different nations akin to Zambia, Eswatini, Botswana and India in offering humanitarian help to the flood-ravaged neighbours. The South African reduction mission consisted of components of the South African Nationwide Defence Pressure, the South African Police Service and the South African Division of Well being. Within the true spirit of Ubuntu (Humanity), some South African non-profit organisations additionally supplied humanitarian assist to nations affected by these floods.
Attaining peace in Africa stays one of many cornerstones for its prosperity and the safety of essentially the most susceptible members of its society akin to girls, youngsters and the aged. Along with numerous different African nations akin to Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa types a part of looking for peace and stability within the continent by forming a part of the United Nation’s Peacekeeping Pressure in Africa.
When South Africa assumed the chairship of the AU in 2020, for the second time, its precedence was to strengthen the AU and different continental establishments such because the Pan-African Parliament and the African Peer Evaluate Mechanism. The nation stays dedicated to working with the buildings of the AU to deepen the unity of the continent, and to advance inclusive progress and sustainable growth. Such interventions can solely be achieved by supporting regional integration, industrialisation, financial growth, commerce and funding.
Sadly, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic scuppered most, if not all, these developmental programmes; consequently forcing many countries to shift their focus. This yr, nations have been locked in a bitter battle to attempt to comprise the speedy unfold of COVID-19 of their midst. Africa confirmed the world deal decisively with such a frightening problem. South Africa achieved exceptional success with its risk-adjusted technique to swiftly mitigate the unfold of the pandemic.
Going ahead, South Africa will depend on its endearing spirit of collaboration and help to revive its financial system and that of the continent too. By working collectively as a united entrance, the continent could be able to confront its challenges, which embody the difficulty of local weather change, which impacts the area and the entire continent.
The specter of one other Intense Tropical Cyclone Idai or one thing much more devastating, is a continuing reminder that we have to be without end vigilant and able to reply appropriately as a united continent.
Regardless of our uncertainty about future phenomena, what stays necessary is the dedication of countries on the continent to work collectively for the frequent good. Internecine wars and flood waters could as soon as once more rise sooner or later, and the difficulty of drought stays a relentless menace.
Historical past has proven us that within the midst of the best adversity, the unity and sense of function of Africans has at all times been triumphant. Our mighty continent will rise once more, even stronger, and higher geared up to construct a greater tomorrow for all. The continental buildings will stay dedicated to lowering violent conflicts that consequence within the lack of harmless lives. Peace!
S.A Authorities Cupboard Spokesperson and GCIS Director-Common, Ms. Phumla Williams.