Free & safe movement in Southern Africa

The report reveals the contradictions within SADC, and reveals that despite the fact that SADC’s 1993 founding Treaty makes free movement of peoples central to its priorities, its Protocol on Freedom of Movement [of peoples’] remains restrictive and contradictory. It names Botswana, Namibia and South Africa as countries that have resisted principles that would usher in greater freedoms of movement within the region and states that: ‘_[THE 1997] SADC PROTOCOL ON FREE MOVEMENT FACED AN UPHILL BATTLE; THE WORD ‘FREEDOM’ WAS EVEN REVISED INTO ‘FACILITATION’ OF MOVEMENT, NOT ONLY IN TITLE BUT SUBSTANTIALLY IN CONTENT.’ _The report also lays bare the low levels of political will to implement the Protocol, with only seven countries having ratified the watered down version.

The report also states that governance of migration and human mobility is largely driven by security considerations, whereby movement of peoples is seen as a threat, and as such, the response has been either exclusion and or containment focused. Such posturing by some member states, mostly the most economically advanced, has undermined the aspirational goals of integration, economic cooperation, regional trade and mutual development, as enshrined in the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDIP). It also unveils the major discrepancies between policies articulated at regional level versus the interests of governments at the national or even bi-lateral levels.