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    SADC recognises that peace, security and political stability are essential for socio-economic development. A history of relatively open borders in the region can promote economic growth but also facilitate criminal activities including smuggling, illegal trade in wildlife products, terrorism and illicit trade in firearms. SADC’s Public Security sector therefore covers services related to law enforcement, public safety, corrections or prisons, immigration, parks and wildlife, customs and refugees.

    SADC Commitment to Public Security

    Collaboration between law enforcement and public security agencies in the SADC region is increasingly effective. SADC Member States are increasing cross-border operations aimed at combating crime and recovery of stolen property. Member States also work together on combating transit fraud, smuggling and under-valuation of imported second hand goods from Asia.

    The Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security contains 12 overall objectives, the first of which directly addresses public security: “protect the people and safeguard the development of the Region against instability arising from the breakdown of law and order, intra-state conflict, inter-state conflict and aggression”

    The Strategic Indicative Plan for the Organ identifies objectives and related strategies and activities to fulfil the Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation.The Plan identifies the following four objectives related to public security:

    Objective 1: To promote public safety and security in the region;

    Objective 2: To promote regional co-ordination and co-operation on public safety and security matters;

    Objective 3: To develop capacity and incorporate prison officers in peacekeeping operations; and

    Objective 4: Enhance regional co-operation in respect of disaster risk management and co-ordination of regional disaster responses and international humanitarian assistance

    The Public Security Sector has made some significant achievements to date. Joint cross-border operations, which resulted in the reduction in crime in areas, related to poaching and illegal trade in wildlife, customs issues and illegal migration were conducted. Member States have also been working together to curb incidents of transit fraud and under-valuation of imported second hand goods as well as cross border smuggling.


    Despite the above achievements, the Public Security Sector still faces numerous challenges which include:

    • Transnational criminal activities and organised criminal syndicates
    • Cyber crime;
    • Terrorism;
    • Drug dealing and trafficking;
    • Violent crime;
    • Control and regulation of private security companies for the elimination of mercenary activities;
    • The proliferation of and trafficking in small arms and light weapons;
    • Money laundering and cash in transit heist;
    • The negative effects of globalisation such as the growing vulnerability of national borders;
    • The scarcity of resources;
    • Efficient communication systems backed by a reliable criminal intelligence network;
    • Combating human trafficking;
    • Combating and prevention of rape, abuse and violence against women, and children;
    • HIV and AIDS;
    • Enforcement of the agreed policies pertaining to the control of conflict diamonds;
    • Illegal migration;
    • Overcrowding in correctional/prisons facilities;
    • Poaching;
    • Maritime piracy; and
    • Smuggling of goods

    Relevant Documents

    Responsible Directorate