19 August 2013
South African President Jacob Zuma joined regional leaders at the conclusion of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit in Malawi on the weekend in calling on the Egyptian authorities to restore constitutional order in the violence-torn country.
Zuma said the SADC leaders had rejected the Egyptian army’s removal, in July, of constitutionally elected president Mohamed Morsi from power.
“And we said that we do not accept it and we call on Egyptians to return normalcy in that country,” Zuma told reporters as he prepared to leave Malawi on Sunday. “The crisis has been deepening, and we must do everything we can to help the Egyptians.”
Zuma described the two-day SADC summit as generally successful and said South Africa was happy with the outcome. The summit elected Malawian President Joyce Banda as the new chairperson of the regional body, with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as her deputy. Banda becomes the first woman to chair the SADC.
In her first speech as SADC chairperson, Banda said the SADC had steered the region towards economic integration, peace and democracy. She called on regional leaders to continue attracting investors to partner in the region’s infrastructure development programmes.
“I’m pleased to note that we generally have peace and stability in the region despite a few pockets of political insecurity,” Banda said.
“On the economic front, the summit noted food security and nutrition as a major economic challenge for the region.”
Earlier, the summit called for the lifting of international sanctions against Zimbabwe so that country could find its way towards economic recovery.
The leaders also welcomed the deployment of the SADC’s intervention brigade to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to contain the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in the eastern part of that country.