SADC to consider sanctions on Madagascar

Friday, March 20, 2009

Pretoria - Imposing tough sanctions on Madagascar will be top of the agenda when the Southern African Development Community (SADC) meets in Johannesburg at the end of the month.

It is time tougher action is taken against those who illegally oust democratically elected leaders, said South African Defence Minister Charles Nqakula, briefing reporters in Pretoria on the outcomes of the SADC Extra Ordinary Summit of the Organ Troika on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation in Swaziland.

Madagascan President Marc Ravalomanana handed power to a navy admiral earlier this week after a violent power struggle. The army in turn named opposition leader Andry Rajoelina the country's new leader.

The Troika will submit to SADC a number of resolutions, including imposing sanctions and using all relevant resources available to restore order in Madagascar.

Mr Nqakula said the mood at the summit had been characterised by a deep sense of intolerance to the illegal outage of a democratically elected leader.

"The sanctions must send a clear signal that SADC does not tolerate any ousting of democratically elected leaders. They must feel the sanctions."

He further said that the Madagascan situation is to be used as a yard stick to see how SADC and the African Union respond to situations like this in the future.

Minister Nqakula further explained that the sanctions would be mainly to put pressure on those that in power illegally and not the ordinary citizens.

President Kgalema Motlanthe has been briefed by the minister on the summit's outcomes. He had earlier this week said South Africa and the SADC would not recognise Mr Rajoelina as a president.

He said President Motlanthe, who is also the current SADC Chairperson, might consider holding the SADC Summit earlier as this was a matter he wanted dealt with quickly.

Executive Secretary of SADC Tomaz Salamao has been mandated to engage the AU, United Nations and all other role players to help define a comprehensive and coherent strategy that would lead to the resolution of the situation in that country.