The SADC Public Security Sub Committee (PSSC) was convened in Dar Es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania from 14 – 16 June 2017. The PSSC is an Annual Statutory meeting convened to reflect on progress achieved in the implementation of public security programmes for 2016/2017 financial year. The following Member States were in attendance: Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The PSSC was officially opened by Ambassador Simba Yahya: Acting Permanent Secretary from the Ministry of Home Affairs, United Republic of Tanzania.
The SADC Secretariat was led by Mr. Jorge Cardoso: Director of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Affairs, who reminded the Member States present that, public security remains more relevant today and critical, and forms part of Goverments multi-sectoral approach to adress transnational organised cross border crime, which have become more complex and sophisticated. Director Cardoso also alluded to the fact that visibility of public security in SADC will enhance attracttion of investor confidence, and will also go a long way in contributing towards sustainable regional growth.
The PSSC considered strategic matters to be recommended to the Ministerial Committee of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation for consideration. In this regards, the PSSC considered the status of signature and ratification of the SADC Protocol on Facilitation of Movement of Persons. The PSSC observed that the SADC Protocol on Facilitation of Movement of Persons remains relevant and critical for the region, particularly for regional integration and development. Member States that have not signed and or ratified the protocol were urged to expedite the signing and ratification process.
The PSSC also discussed Bilateral Visa Exemption Agreements within the region, and noted that 12 of the SADC Member States namely: Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Swaziland, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe have all exempted each other from visa requirements. The PSSC also noted progress achieved by Angola towards finalising Bilateral Visa Exemption Agreements with most of the SADC Member States.
The PSSC further discussed free movement of persons in Africa, as envisaged in the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063, which calls for free movement of persons and the establishment of continental institutions leading to full economic integration by 2030. As part of the continental agenda, the PSSC considered a Desk Research on Implementation of the AU Migration Policy Framework within the region. The Desk research conducted by Adv. Maemo Machethe highlights that: SADC has made significant progress in the implementation of the AU Migration Policy Framework. However, the research also recommends among others, the need to develop a SADC Comprehensive Migration Policy and a Regional Internally Displaced Person Policy.
The PSSC further discussed piloting of the UNIVISA and acknowledged that the SADC UNIVISA is strategically important and therefore its implementation modalities should be finalised. In conclusion, the PSSC discussed the SADC Common Position on implementation of free movement of persons in Africa, harmonisation of operating hours at Ports of Entries and the need to introduce Coordinated Border Management. The PSSC further urged Member States to implement the Regional Law Enforcement and Anti-Poaching (LEAP) Strategy and align their National Policies with the LEAP Strategy.