South African Development Community and the Combat of Small Arms

Tasneem Jamal

SADC Council Decisions on the Prevention and Combating of Illicit Trafficing in Small Arms and Related Crimes, adopted at the Summit of the Heads of State or Government of the South African Development Community

Maputo, Mozambique, 17-18 August 1999

The Council noted that conflicts in the SADC region over many years have led to a proliferation of arms, including light weapons. This has in turn contributed to an increase in criminal activities such as armed robberies and illicit trafficking in small arms.

The Council noted the various arrangements for combating illicit arms trafficking and cross-border crime. These include the Regional Agreement for Cooperation and Law Enforcement and the establishment of the Southern African Regional Police Cooperation (SARPCCO).

The Council noted that these developments would require a well-coordinated framework in SADC. A developmental dimension to the problem was required over and above a focus on law enforcement.

It was further agreed that small arms was a simple means for promoting crime. SADC needed to combine regional energies and resources to prevent resorting to small arms as a means of survival.

Bearing in mind the above, the following steps were approved by the Council:

  • SADC should commit itself to the effective combating of armed transborder crime and the reduction and control of the flow of illicit arms;
  • SADC should establish a regional policy for control of small arms and light weapons. SARPCCO should be appointed as the implementing agency of the SADC policy on small arms and cross-border crime prevention. The ministries responsible for law and order or safety should be the SADC national focal points on the issues of prevention and combating of small arms and related crimes.

A working group consisting of Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland (Chair), Zambia, Zimbabwe, the Secretariat and SARPCCO should be appointed to work out the SADC policy on small arms and develop a programme for implementation at the regional level. Other member States wishing to join the working group may do so.

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