South Africa highly values its good relations with neighbouring Mozambique and is hoping to preserve these following a shooting in which two Mozambican border police officials were killed, Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said on Thursday.
Mthembu said this was part of government’s reason for dispatching leaders of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and the South African Police Force to Mozambique to meet with their counterparts with a view to conducting a joint investigation into the incident.
It includes the defence force’s chief of joint operations Lieutenant-General Barney Hlatswayo and the deputy national commissioner of the police Lieutenant-General Sehlahle Masemola.
“The team is on a fact-finding mission into the shooting. They are expected to, amongst others, discuss a joint investigation between Mozambique and South Africa,” Mthembu said in a briefing on Cabinet’s regular fortnightly meeting.
Asked what he hoped the talks and a probe would achieve, he said: “We would like to continue to have the wonderful relations we have with Mozambique. They are our neighbour and we enjoy wonderful political and social, including economic, relations with Mozambique. We wouldn’t like anything to come in the way of this wonderful relationship we enjoy with Mozambique.
“That is why as Cabinet we have agreed that this matter needs to properly investigated so that the outcomes of the investigation will then be told to both our countries and we will await those outcomes.”
The Mozambican officials died in a shootout with South African soldiers on the border near Ndumo, KwaZulu-Natal, last week.
According to the SANDF, the South African soldiers were conducting a routine border patrol at the time.
The army was not able to disclose yet whether the shooting happened on South African or Mozambican soil.
Mthembu described those dispatched to Mozambique for talks on the matter as “a well-experienced team with the necessary leadership capacities”.
– African News Agency