from ODIRILE TOTENG in Gaborone, Botswana
GABORONE, (CAJ News) – THE establishment of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Standby Force Regional Logistics Depot (RLD) is a milestone in maintaining peace and security in the bloc.
Botswana has signed an agreement with the SADC Secretariat for the setting up of the facility that will cost an estimated US$45 million (BWP501 million) and is expected to be fully operational by 2026.
Botswana, where SADC is headquartered, has allocated the regional bloc 19-hectares of land for the construction of the RLD in the southeastern village of Rasesa.
Elias Mpedi Magosi, the SADC Executive Secretary, commended the country for agreeing to host the RLD.
“The gesture by the Botswana Government is confirmation of the commitment to contribute to and facilitate peace and security in the region,” Magosi said.
Once completed, the depot will store of material, equipment and end-user stocks for use by the SADC Standby Force during its peace support and humanitarian missions.
It will also provide a central platform for the provision of logistics support to the regional force.
Thomas Kagiso Mmusi, Botswana Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, said the deployment of SADC forces in Mozambique in July demonstrated the need for the depot.
Mozambique, one of 16 SADC member states, is under attack by Islamists north of the country.
Mmusi said the RLD would ensure SADC act promptly to save lives and thwart crises from escalating.
The establishment of an RLD was first discussed in 2004 at the SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government in Mauritius.
– CAJ News