Southern African Development Community Executive Secretary His Excellency Mr. Elias Mpedi Magosi has commended the Government of Botswana for signing the Agreement for hosting the SADC Standby Force Regional Logistics Depot.
H.E Magosi made the remarks on 21st October 202I during the signing of the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Botswana and the SADC Secretariat, for hosting the SADC Standby Force Regional Logistics Depot (RLD), in the village of Rasesa, in Botswana. At the signing ceremony, Botswana was represented by Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Honourable Thomas Kagiso Mmusi, and was accompanied by Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation, Dr. Lemogang Kwape, while SADC Secretariat was represented by H.E Magosi.
The Executive Secretary expressed his gratitude to the Government of Botswana for allocating the regional bloc 19-hectares of land for the construction of the RLD, and the granting of a land lease signed in 2012. He described the gesture by the Botswana Government as confirmation of the commitment to contribute to and facilitate peace and security in the Region.
He said once completed, the depot will enable storage of materials, equipment and end-user stocks for use by the SADC Standby Force when undertaking mandated peace support and humanitarian missions. The depot will provide a central platform for the provision of logistics support to the SADC Standby Force.
H.E Magosi further said the depot will comprise of a variety of buildings including office space, residential buildings, warehouses, workshops and supporting infrastructure such as roads, sewer, water, electricity and security systems. The facility will be built in phases at an estimated total cost of US$45 million and is expected to be fully operational by 2026.
Hon. Mmusi highlighted that the depot will guarantee a rapid deployment capability of the SADC Standby Force which will facilitate SADC to act promptly to save lives and prevent crises from escalating. He said the recent deployment of SADC forces in Mozambique has demonstrated that the depot is needed to mitigate some mobilisation challenges which can be best addressed by a fully functional logistics depot to support a quick reaction.
Minister Mmusi said that the signing of the Agreement signified his government's strong commitment to ensure that SADC has the capability to maintain peace and security within the Region. He reiterated his government's resolve to meet all the obligations outlined in the Agreement to ensure that the facility is fully operationalised.
In August 2004, the SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government made a decision to establish the SADC Regional Logistics Depot for storing material, equipment and end-user stocks, to be used in peacekeeping operations and humanitarian relief efforts by the SADC Standby Force.