First Comment

First Comment

 

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South Africa has had a partnership framework with DR Congo in the form of the General Cooperation Agreement signed in 2004 and has long courted the country but Pretoria’s newly aggressive foreign policy stance is likely to have wider implications on geopolitical configurations.

The projection of force under the Zuma administration began with the successful installation of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as chairperson of the African Union and, more recently, with Pretoria’s deployment of a brigade to the United Nations Intervention Brigade in eastern DR Congo.

South Africa’s deployment and emergence as guarantor of peace and investment partner has turned eastern DR Congo into a theatre of contest between the Southern African Development Community and the East African Community.

Tanzania, which has a leg in SADC, has also contributed troops to the brigade which last week dislodged M23 rebels who retain sympathies and, according to a UN panel of experts’ report, support from Rwanda and Uganda.

In a speech before the DRC Parliament President Zuma acknowledged the need for the faltering peace talks in Kampala and the need for a political settlement in eastern Congo but he also fired a veiled warning shot towards the external actors in the conflict.

“South Africa remains deeply concerned by the enduring conflict in eastern Congo, perpetrated by local and externally supported armed groups on innocent Congolese civilians,” he said.

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