A bilateral Commission on Defence and Security meeting closed in Gaborone on Friday and encouraged Botswana and South Africa to work closely in combating cross border crimes, such as poaching, drug trafficking, smuggling of goods, livestock and human trafficking.
The Ministry of Defence and Security hosted the three-day event ÔÇô the 11th session of the Botswana-South Africa Joint Commission on Defence and Security.
Botswana’s Defence and Security minister, Dikgakgamatso Ndelu Seretse, opened the session by highlighting the joint commission’s bid to enhance the two countries’ bilateral ties.
“Our commitment to keep our people safe and secure represents a major contribution by our countries to the maintenance of peace and stability in the SADC region and the continent,” said Seretse.
South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Thabang Mokwetla, called for the extension of Botswana-South Africa cooperation efforts to “new areas where we are facing
The Commission deliberated on issues of mutual interest in the areas of Defence, Justice and Security. Among other things, agreements were reached for joint efforts in training in military health services, air force capability, and mutual implementation of the SADC Maritime Strategy.
On public security, the Commission noted the continued cooperation in curbing illicit drug trafficking, fraud, smuggling of goods, livestock and human trafficking. It also encouraged law enforcement authorities to work closely in upping anti-poaching strategies, especially in combating rhino and young predator poaching.
Meanwhile, the joint Commission agreed on the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding and Adjusted Action Plan by the end of October, 2012. It also appreciated efforts by the two countries to amend the 1969 Extradition Treaty between Botswana and South Africa.
The Commission noted the recent signing of the Bi-National Commission Agreement which merges the Joint Permanent Commission on Cooperation and the Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security into a single cooperation. It will be chaired by the two Heads of State on an annual basis.
The Commission also acknowledged the recent appointments of Dr Ponatshego Kedikilwe as Botswana’s new vice president as well as Lt. General Gaolathe Galebotswe and Keabetswe Makgophe as Commander of the Botswana Defence Force and Commissioner of the Botswana Police Service, respectively.
The Botswana delegation congratulated Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as the new Chairperson of the African Union Commission.
The Ministry of Defence and Security is expected to host their Namibian counterparts sometime in November.