SADC structures explained  

WINDHOEK – One of SADC’s most prolific organs is that on Politics, Defence and Security, which is responsible for promoting peace and security in the region. It reports to the SADC Summit and is headed by a troika – that is three member states – who are not members of the SADC Troika, consisting of a chairperson, incoming chairperson and outgoing chairperson.  A ministerial committee comprising the ministers responsible for foreign affairs, defence, public security and state security from each of the member states reports to the chairperson and is responsible for the coordination of the work of the organ and its structures. Ministers of foreign affairs of each member state perform the functions of the organ relating to politics and diplomacy within the Inter-state Politics and Diplomacy Committee.  Ministers of defence, public security and state security work through the Inter-state Defence and Security Committee. Mozambican President, Armando Guebuza, is the current Chair of the Troika, with Zambian President Rupiah Banda as Vice-Chair, and Swazi Prime Minister, Subusiso Dlamini, as previous chair, the third member of the troika. The Council meets twice a year and consists of one minister from each member state responsible for SADC affairs. The ministers are tasked with overseeing the functions and development of SADC, the implementation of SADC policies, programmes, SADC common agenda and strategic priorities. The SADC common agenda includes the promotion of sustainable and equitable economic growth and socio-economic development that will ensure poverty alleviation with the ultimate objective of its eradication; promotion of common political values, systems and other shared values which are transmitted through institutions which are democratic, legitimate and effective and the consolidation and maintenance of democracy, peace and security. Other duties of the council include advising the Summit on matters of overall policy; development of SADC as a region. It also considers and recommends to the Summit, any application for SADC membership.  The council already met in Kinshasa in the DRC this February when it approved the annual budgets and met in Mozambique on August 3 to 6 to prepare the summit agenda. Currently the DRC’s Minister of International and Regional Co-operation, Raymond Tshibanda N’tungamulongo, who is due to hand over the chair at the coming Summit to Namibian Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Hage Geingob, chairs the Council. The Tribunal, headquartered in Windhoek, is provided for under Article 16 of the 1992 Declaration and Treaty establishing the community. Members approved the Tribunal Protocol required in 2000 and it entered into force with the signature of the Agreement Amending the Treaty of SADC in August 2001.  The first judges of the Tribunal were sworn-in in November 2005. The Tribunal became ready to receive cases in April 2007 and received its first complaint in October 2007. The Tribunal is composed of 10 judges elected by the Council and is a permanent court. Only the Council designates five of the members of the Tribunal, as regular members, who will consistently sit on the bench. The other five judges are alternates to be called upon when any of the sitting members is unable to serve. The Tribunal has jurisdiction over controversies involving the interpretation or application of the Treaty, the interpretation, application or validity of protocols and other community documents and actions of the community institutions. In addition, the court’s jurisdiction covers disputes under any other agreements of the member states that specify use of the Tribunal. The Tribunal also has a broad purview with respect to the law that it may apply in interpreting the treaty and other community instruments.  The Tribunal not only can apply the community law, as reflected in the treaty, protocols and other instruments adopted by community institutions, but it is exhorted to develop its own community jurisprudence, applying also general international law principles and principles from individual states’ laws. This exhortation indicates a clear desire for the Tribunal to influence the direction and speed of the integration process for the community. A person can bring a case against another person under community law directly to the Tribunal if the other party so agrees. Persons may sue the community over the legality, interpretation or application of community law. A person may also bring a member state to the Tribunal in connection with community law or the State’s obligations under such law once national remedies have been exhausted, thus making the Tribunal a final court of appeal for matters relating to community law. The National Committees shall be composed of key stakeholders, notably government, private sector and civil society in member states. Their main functions will be to provide inputs at the national level in the formulation of regional policies, strategies as well as to coordinate and oversee the implementation of these programmes at the national level. These committees must be an integral part of the overall SADC structure as provided for in the Treaty. Member States are therefore obliged to establish functional and effective National Committees. In addition to implementing and monitoring SADC programmes at a national level, these committees are responsible for ensuring broad and inclusive consultations to prepare for inputs required by the Secretariat. The Secretariat is the principal executive institution of SADC responsible for strategic planning, coordination and management of SADC programmes. It is headed by an Executive Secretary and has its headquarters in Gaborone, Botswana – additional reporting, New Era

August 2010
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