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Johannesburg, Aug. 12, 2020 (Lusa) - South African academic Andre Thomashausen said on Wednesday that South Africa should intervene in Mozambique's Cabo Delgado province as part of a regional military peace mission and integrated reconstruction of that part of northern Mozambique.

"At the moment, South Africa is anxious to limit the entry of large foreign, Canadian, American, British and French mercenary companies, and that is why it is very seriously considering official military assistance through the regular [Defence] forces," the South African academic and lawyer told Lusa.

"We are talking about a battalion that could be transferred to Cabo Delgado as early as December this year and there are exercises in progress for a mission in Cabo Delgado," he told Lusa.

In the analyst's opinion, South Africa could assume a "moderating role" in the conflict in Cabo Delgado in order to avert "the danger of mercenary forces", to restore "normality" and to avoid "the abuses that are currently being practised by the FADM [Mozambique's Armed Forces]".

"Mozambique has already requested such support from SADC and that is where it could take place, and if there is an escalation of violence it is very likely that the United Nations Security Council (UN) will also speak out and there could be an operation similar to the peacekeeping operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where there has been a South African presence for some years," he said.

Thomashausen said that South Africa will use the experience gained in peace missions in Darfur, South Sudan and DR Congo to mount "a less muscular and more peace-keeping intervention", but as part of a social reconstruction project in that region in northern Mozambique.

"It is clear that mobilisation of one battalion or even two battalions to Cabo Delgado is very costly," he said, stating that "there will have to be a way to finance this intervention and the question arises: how is it possible that a huge deposit of natural gas, it is said to be the 10th largest in the world, is being processed without the participation of South Africa, which does not have 1% of these concessions," he said.

"Now South Africa's banks are financing the Total project because they can't finance a fossil energy project from Europe," said Thomashausen, adding that Pretoria "should and could" participate in the big gas exploration project.

"It would be natural for South Africa to also maintain an interest in protecting these resources," he stressed in an interview with Lusa.

The Islamic State (IS) recently warned of retaliating against Pretoria in an Arabic newsletter quoted by the South African press if it became militarily involved in the conflict in Cabo Delgado.

However, following a request from Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, South African Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula referred the matter to SADC in parliament.

"The coordinated SADC response to the insurgency in Mozambique is an issue involving the member state and the regional body. The details of this response can best be articulated by the President or the SADC Secretariat," Nyusi said in a written response to a question from the Democratic Alliance (DA), the main opposition party.

In Andre Thomashausen's view, the "militarisation" of Cabo Delgado "is sinister because the civilian population will soon be in a situation similar to Syria or Somalia where there are no longer standing structures and only refugees and people are surviving".

"The South African ministry of defence has funds for peace missions and assistance to SADC, eventually there will have to be an adjustment in that budget, but there may also be a situation where Mozambique takes over the direct expenses of that mission, just as Total is paying the FADM for security in Cabo Delgado", he said.

"And there may be donor countries, the United States, for example, could contribute with equipment, aircraft and helicopters", he said.

"Mozambique has funds at the moment because the transfer of the part of the gas concession from the US company Anadarko to Total, which then sold half of the concession to Qatar Petroleum, in each of these operations there is a tax that has yielded about $800 million (€679.5 million) to the [Mozambican] government recently and therefore there are some funds, but tragically they are being misused," he said.

Thomashausen said that the reconstruction of Cabo Delgado "is urgent because it is only through the reconstruction of its infrastructure that this [conflict] situation can be pacified.

"South Africa has the capacity to do these works and it knows how to do them very well, there are many criticisms against this country, but South Africa has an impressive engineering and construction capacity," he told Lusa.



Agency : LUSA

Date : 2020-08-13 09:25:22


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