Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi, in his capacity as the current chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), has warned that the current rioting and looting in South Africa may have knock-on effects throughout the region.
In his message, Nyusi said that SADC is deeply concerned at the loss of lives and indiscriminate destruction of property in the riots, which were sparked off by gangs of supporters of former President Jacob Zuma, protesting at his 15 month jail sentence for contempt of court.
The riots “are not just a threat to human life”, said Nyusi, “but they also generate instability, throttle economic growth, amplify risks and hinder the return of the investment that is so necessary”. SADC therefore “vehemently condemns these attacks on property, businesses and people”.
SADC was also concerned that the violence is disrupting efforts to deal with the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Given the strategic position of South Africa in the regional economy”, Nyusi continued, “if the current agitation is not brought under control, it will have a negative impact on the chain of supplies of essential goods for the region”.
He warned that the rioting “will reduce job opportunities, and threaten vital infrastructures, not only in South Africa, but in the SADC region as a whole”.
Should the violence persist, he added, than the recovery projected for the region and the forecast growth rate of two per cent in 2021 and 3.2 per cent in 2022 “may be beyond reach. This damage will doubtless increase, which will be a major setback to the efforts of the region to rebuild economies after the coronavirus pandemic”.
Nyusi praised the efforts of the South African government to protect the population from the rioters, and urged South African citizens and their leaders to embark on “constructive dialogue in order to solve the current crisis”.
SADC, he concluded, “reaffirms its solidarity with the people and government of South Africa in their continual efforts to restore the rule of law, peace and stability”.