The Ministers of Justice/Attorneys General of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on 3rd August, 2020 met virtually and reviewed a number of Legal instruments aimed at creating framework for regional cooperation on issues of labour, peace and security to accelerate economic integration and growth.
The Legal instruments include the draft Agreement Amendment of the SADC Protocol on the Control of Firearms, Ammunition and Other Related Materials which seeks to broaden the scope of application of the Protocol to include conventional weapons, align it with International Conventions and other Legal Instruments dealing with firearms, ammunitions and other related materials and incorporate contemporary threats of proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the SADC region. The Committee also reviewed Agreement Regarding the Status of SADC Standby Force and its Components Deployed within the SADC Region for Purposes of Training, Peace Support Operation, Exercises and Humanitarian Assistance.
Speaking at the opening of the meeting, Honourable Minister Mwigulu Lameck Nchemba, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs of the United Republic of Tanzania, and the Chairperson of the SADC Committee of Ministers of Justice/Attorneys General underscored the need for a conducive legal framework for regional peace and security and attainment of social justice and decent work within the SADC Region.
On her part, the Executive Secretary of SADC, Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, underscored that whereas, it is gratifying to note that several SADC Member States have ratified and implemented some SADC Protocols and Legal Instruments, there was still need to address areas that were lagging behind. She called on Member States that have not yet signed or ratified Protocols and other legal instruments to do so timeously to ensure the implementation of the Protocols and attainment of SADC objectives as stipulated in the SADC Treaty.
H. E. Dr Tax also paid tribute to the late His Excellency Benjamin William Mkapa, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania and former Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs of the United Republic of Tanzania and Chairperson of the SADC Committee of Ministers of Justice/ Attorneys General, the late Ambassador Augustine Mahiga. She described the two as true Pan-African stalwarts who contributed immensely to the SADC regional integration agenda.
During the meeting, the Ministers recommended for approval the proposal by Committee of Ministers of Employment and Labour and Social Partners on the development of a new Protocol on Employment and Labour. Once developed, the new Protocol will advance social justice and decent work by promoting the harmonisation and setting of minimum labour standards in the SADC region in line with International Labour Standards.
The meeting was attended by Ministers of Justice and Attorneys General from Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and the Executive Secretary of SADC, H.E. Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax.