US embassy cable - 99PRETORIA12830

SOUTH AFRICA AND SADC'S SECURITY ORGAN

Identifier: 99PRETORIA12830
Wikileaks: View 99PRETORIA12830 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Pretoria
Created: 1999-10-22 13:37:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PREL MASS SF
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
P 221337Z OCT 99
FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8077
INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 PRETORIA 012830 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL:  10/21/99 
TAGS:  PREL, MASS, SF 
SUBJECT:  SOUTH AFRICA AND SADC'S SECURITY ORGAN 
 
(U) CLASSIFIED BY POLCOUNS MDRAGSDALE, REASONS 1.5(B) AND (D). 
 
1.  (C)  SUMMARY.  SOUTH AFRICAN DEFENSE AND FOREIGN 
MINISTERS WILL TAKE PART IN AN OCTOBER 26 - 27 SPECIAL 
MINISTERIAL SESSION IN SWAZILAND ON REFORM OF THE ORGAN ON 
POLITICS, DEFENSE, AND SECURITY (THE ORGAN).  PARTICIPATION 
OF THE FOREIGN MINISTER SHOULD ADDRESS SAG CONCERN THAT ANY 
DECISIONS MADE ON THE ISSUE HAVE THE BLESSING OF THE SADC 
COUNCIL OF MINISTERS.  THE MINISTERIAL FOLLOWS ON THE HEELS 
OF A SUCCESSFUL WORKING SESSION IN PRETORIA THE WEEK OF 
SEPTEMBER 27 - OCTOBER 1 ORGANIZED BY THE SOUTH AFRICAN, 
ZIMBABWEAN, AND SWAZI MINISTERS OF DEFENSE.  THE MOST 
SUCCESSFUL ELEMENT OF THE WORKING SESSION WAS ZIMBABWEAN 
COMPREHENSION (FINALLY) OF THE SAG'S POSITION THAT THE 
ORGAN MUST BE INTEGRATED INTO THE OVERALL SADC STRUCTURE. 
STRESSING THAT SADC MEMBERS SOMETIMES VIEW SWAZILAND AS A 
SOUTH AFRICAN "SATELLITE," THE DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR SADC 
POLITICAL AFFAIRS TOLD POLOFF ON OCTOBER 7 THAT ANY 
DECISION ON ORGAN REFORM NEEDED TO APPEAR TO BE A WIDER 
INITIATIVE THAN THAT OF SOUTH AFRICA, ZIMBABWE, AND 
SWAZILAND.  ALTHOUGH THE SAG REMAINS WORRIED THAT ZIMBABWE 
WILL IN THE END BALK AT FULL ORGAN-SADC INTEGRATION, SOUTH 
AFRICA IS NONETHELESS GOING TO SWAZILAND WITH THE HOPE THAT 
THE SPECIAL MINISTERIAL WILL RESULT IN SADC ENDORSEMENT FOR 
ORGAN REFORM.  END SUMMARY. 
 
BACKGROUND ON SADC AND THE SECURITY ORGAN 
========================================= 
 
2.  (C)  BEFORE SADC CAN ADDRESS REGIONAL SECURITY ISSUES 
IN AN ORGANIZED FASHION, MEMBER STATES MUST FIRST AGREE ON 
SADC'S ROLE WITH REGARD TO POLITICAL, DEFENSE, AND SECURITY 
ISSUES.  FOR THAT TO TAKE PLACE, THE STATUS OF SADC'S 
ORGAN, (AS WELL AS THE INTERSTATE DEFENSE AND SECURITY 
COMMITTEE (ISDSC)) MUST BE CLEARLY DEFINED.  ALTHOUGH 
MEMBER STATES ACCEPTED THE IDEA OF THE ORGAN DURING THE 
SADC HEADS OF STATE SUMMIT IN MASERU IN 1996, THE ORGAN IS 
MAINTAINED SEPARATELY AT THE HEADS OF STATE LEVEL.  ITS 
CHAIR, ZIMBABWEAN PRESIDENT MUGABE, VIEWS THE ORGAN AS A 
PARALLEL AND EQUAL BODY NEITHER DIRECTLY LINKED NOR 
ACCOUNTABLE TO SADC OR THE ISDSC.  HOWEVER, UNLIKE SADC, 
NEITHER THE ORGAN NOR THE ISDSC (WHICH IS CHAIRED BY 
SWAZILAND) POSSESS SECRETARIATS, WHICH HAS LIMITED BOTH 
BODIES' POTENTIAL SCOPE OF ACTION. 
 
3.  (C)  ALTHOUGH THE ORGAN CHAIRMANSHIP IS ONLY A ONE-YEAR 
TERM, SUCCESSION HAS BEEN HELD UP OVER DIFFERENCES ABOUT 
ITS RELATIONSHIP TO SADC.  PRIMARILY BECAUSE OF DIFFERENCES 
BETWEEN SADC'S PREVIOUS CHAIR, FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN 
PRESIDENT MANDELA AND MUGABE, DISCUSSION ON THE ORGAN'S 
STRUCTURE HAS BEEN CONTINUALLY SIDELINED.  ALTHOUGH SADC 
TASKED A WORKING GROUP, COMPRISED OF MOZAMBIQUE, MALAWI, 
AND NAMIBIA, IN EARLY 1998 TO STUDY THE ISSUE, NEITHER THE 
ISSUE NOR THE GROUP'S RECOMMENDATION WERE EVEN ADDRESSED AT 
THE 1998 SADC SUMMIT IN MAURITIUS.  HOWEVER, DURING THE 
1999 SUMMIT IN MAPUTO (WHERE SOUTH AFRICA PASSED ON THE 
SADC CHAIRMANSHIP TO MOZAMBIQUE AND THEREBY REMOVED THE 
PERSONAL TENSION BETWEEN MANDELA AND MUGABE FROM THE 
EQUATION), DISCUSSION WAS RE-OPENED AND A COMMITMENT WAS 
MADE TO ADDRESS THE ISSUE, RESULTING IN THIS RECENT ROUND 
OF SOUTH AFRICAN, ZIMBABWEAN, AND SWAZI MEETINGS. 
 
FROM MINISTERS TO WORKING GROUP 
=============================== 
 
4.  (C)  IN AN OCTOBER 7 MEETING, DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN 
AFFAIRS' (DFA) DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR SADC POLITICAL AFFAIRS 
HORST BRAMMER TOLD POLOFF THAT HE HAD BEEN UNEXPECTEDLY (HE 
WAS SCHEDULED FOR ANNUAL LEAVE) DRAFTED THE WEEK OF 
SEPTEMBER 27 - OCTOBER 1 TO MEET WITH ZIMBABWEAN AND SWAZI 
COUNTERPARTS ON THE ISSUE OF REFORM OF THE ORGAN FOR 
POLITICS, DEFENSE, AND SECURITY.  THE WEEK-LONG 
"BRAINSTORMING" SESSION CONSISTED OF 2-PERSON DELEGATIONS 
(ONE FOREIGN MINISTRY OFFICIAL AND ONE DEFENSE MINISTRY 
OFFICIAL) FROM EACH OF THE THREE COUNTRIES.  ACCORDING TO 
BRAMMER, THIS UNEXPECTED WORKING SESSION CAME ABOUT AS A 
DIRECT RESULT OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN, ZIMBABWEAN, AND SWAZI 
DEFENSE MINISTERS' MEETINGS IN PRETORIA THE WEEK BEFORE 
(THE WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 21).  ALTHOUGH BRAMMER WELCOMED THE 
INITIATIVE AND NOTED THAT INITIAL AGREEMENT HAD BEEN 
REACHED ON NEXT STEPS, HE NONETHELESS WORRIED THAT THE 
DEFENSE MINISTERS WERE CIRCUMVENTING THE SADC STRUCTURE IN 
THEIR QUEST FOR RESOLUTION OF THE ISSUE. 
 
5.  (C)  AS BRAMMER EXPLAINED, PERMITTING MINISTERS OF 
DEFENSE TO DECIDE ON SADC ISSUES WITHOUT FIRST COORDINATING 
WITH THE SADC COUNCIL OF MINISTERS CREATED A "PROBLEM OF 
PRINCIPLES."  CITING THE EXAMPLES OF SOUTH AFRICAN 
INTERVENTION IN LESOTHO AND ZIMBABWEAN, ANGOLAN, AND 
NAMIBIAN INTERVENTION IN THE DROC (NOMINALLY IN SADC'S 
NAME), BRAMMMER STRESSED THAT ALLOWING THE MINISTERS OF 
DEFENSE TO "SOLVE" THE ORGAN PROBLEM ADDED TO THE OVERALL 
WEAKENING OF SADC LEGITIMACY.  THEREFORE, BRAMMER 
EMPHASIZED THAT THE SAG WOULD INSIST THAT ANY FOLLOW-ON 
MEETINGS BE INCLUSIVE AND ANY MINISTERIALS ADDRESSING THE 
ISSUE INCLUDE FOREIGN MINISTERS.  (COMMENT.  IN AN OCTOBER 
21 CONVERSATION, BRAMMER APPEARED SATISFIED THAT THE 
OCTOBER 26 - 27 MINISTERIAL WILL MEET THESE REQUIREMENTS. 
END COMMENT.) 
 
 
ZIMBABWE SEES THE LIGHT 
======================= 
 
6.  (C)  WITH GREAT RELIEF, BRAMMER NOTED THAT HARARE HAS 
FINALLY BEGUN TO "UNDERSTAND" THE SOUTH AFRICA POSITION ON 
THE ORGAN ISSUE.  LAMENTING THE FACT THAT ZIMBABWE HAD 
PERMITTED THE ORGAN ISSUE TO BECOME A PERSONAL ONE (ON THE 
SIDE OF PRESIDENT MUGABE), BRAMMER STRESSED THAT THE SAG 
HAS FINALLY BEEN ABLE TO CONVINCE AT LEAST THE ZIMBABWEAN 
DEFENSE MINISTER THAT SOUTH AFRICA DID NOT WANT TO TAKE 
OVER THE ORGAN, ONLY ENSURE ITS INTEGRATION INTO THE 
OVERALL SADC STRUCTURE.  ACCORDING TO BRAMMER, THE 
ZIMBABWEANS NOW HAVE A CLEARER IDEA AS TO THE IMPORTANCE OF 
ORGAN INTEGRATION.  RECALLING THAT THE SAG HAD USED THREE 
KEY POINTS TO CONVINCE THE ZIMBABWEANS OF THIS, BRAMMER 
INDICATED THAT THE ZIMBABWEANS FOUND THE KEY POINT OF 
INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION THE MOST COMPELLING (COMMENT. 
THE SAG HAS STRESSED REPEATEDLY THAT THE ORGAN MUST BE PART 
OF SADC OR ELSE IT WOULD NOT QUALIFY AS AN ACTOR IN 
INTERNATIONAL MANDATES, SUCH AS UN CHAPTER 6 0R 7 ACTION. 
END COMMENT.) 
 
7.  (C)  BRAMMER ADDED THAT ONE OF THE SAG'S OTHER TWO 
POINTS HAD BEEN THAT SOUTHERN AFRICAN POLITICAL ISSUES ARE 
INTRICATELY TIED TO SADC ECONOMIC ONES (I.E., RESOURCE 
CONFLICT CAUSES POLITICAL INSTABILITY), SO THE ORGAN SHOULD 
BE TIED TO SADC FORMALLY.  LASTLY, THE SAG HAD FOCUSED 
ATTENTION ON ZIMBABWE'S POCKETS, NOTING THAT THE COST OF 
REPLICATING INSTITUTIONS (I.E., A SECRETARIAT FOR BOTH THE 
ORGAN AND SADC) WOULD BE A WASTE OF ALREADY SCARCE 
MONTETARY RESOURCES.  IN THE END, ACCORDING TO BRAMMER, THE 
ZIMBABWEANS AT THE WEEK-LONG CONFERENCE (AND IMPLICITELY 
THE ZIMBABWEAN MINISTER OF DEFENSE) ACCEPTED ALL THREE 
ARGUMENTS, WHICH SOMEWHAT SURPRISED, BUT CERTAINLY PLEASED, 
THE SOUTH AFRICAN DELEGATION. 
 
BUT WILL ZIMBABWE PLAY BALL? 
============================ 
 
8.  (C)  ON THE OTHER HAND, BRAMMER TOLD POLOFF THAT EVEN 
DAYS AFTER THIS SUCCESSFUL WORKING COMMITTEE MEETING, 
REPORTS FROM HARARE INDICATED THAT MUGABE WAS BALKING AT 
LENDING FURTHER SUPPORT TO THE DEFENSE MINISTERS' SCHEME. 
EXPRESSING CONCERN OVER ZIMBABWE'S COMMITMENT TO REFORM, 
BRAMMER COMPLAINED THAT NOT ONLY ZIMBABWE, BUT INCREASINGLY 
NAMIBIA TOO CONTINUED TO TRY TO DEMONSTRATE THEIR 
INDEPENDENCE FROM SOUTH AFRICA.  (COMMENT.  BRAMMER 
ACCOUNTED FOR NAMIBIA'S PARTICIPATION IN THE ZIMBABWE- 
ANGOLA-NAMIBIA DEFENSE PACT AS JUST THAT - WINDHOEK'S SHOW 
OF INDEPENDENCE.  DFA SENTIMENT IS THAT NAMIBIA HAS THE 
RIGHT IDEA, BUT SEEMS TO ALWAYS DEMONSTRATE IT THE WRONG 
WAY.  END COMMENT.)  ACCORDING TO BRAMMER, ZIMBABWE WILL 
CONTINUE TO APPROACH THE ISSUE THROUGH BILATERAL DIALOGUE 
(I.E., LEADER TO LEADER), UNTIL AGREEMENT IS REACHED, AND 
ONLY THEN COMMIT TO LARGER INITIATIVES (I.E., SADC REFORM 
OF THE ORGAN).  BRAMMER STRESSED, HOWEVER, THAT IF THE 
MAJORITY OF SADC STATES SUPPORT THE ORGAN'S INTEGRATION 
INTO SADC (FOR WHICH THE SAG IS KEENLY LOBBYING), IN THE 
END, ZIMBABWE WOULD HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO AGREE 
 
COMMENT 
======= 
 
9.  (C)  FOREIGN MINISTER ZUMA WILL ARRIVE IN SWAZILAND 
WELL-BRIEFED ON THE ORGAN ISSUE (DFA OFFICIALS BRIEFED HER 
OVER A THREE-DAY PERIOD IN CAPE TOWN EARLIER THIS WEEK). 
THE SAG, AWARE THAT MUCH OF MUGABE'S APPARENT COOPERATION 
ON THE ISSUE IS DUE TO HIS CURRENT "RAPPROCHEMENT" WITH 
MBEKI, WILL TRY TO CAPITALIZE ON IT AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE, 
AND TRY FOR CONCRETE COMMITMENTS AT THE MINISTERIAL.  AT 
THE SAME TIME, THE SAG WILL SEEK TO ENSURE AT THE 
MINISTERIAL THAT ORGAN REFORM BECOMES AN INCLUSIVE PROJECT 
AND NOT A DEAL STRUCK BY A FEW IN THE BACK ROOM FOR MANY. 
END COMMENT. 
 
JOSEPH 

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