Cape Town – Although difficult to quantify, South Africa’s contribution to relief efforts in Somalia exceeds R20m so far, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said Wednesday.
Replying to questions in the National Assembly, he said government had responded to the humanitarian crisis confronting Somalia by raising R8m towards the famine relief programme, R4m of which was donated to the Gift of the Givers towards transportation and logistical costs of delivering aid to Somalia.
Furthermore, and in line with South Africa’s foreign policy objective of consolidating the African agenda, government in partnership with Brand South Africa had teamed up with the Gift of the Givers and launched the Somalia Relief Campaign to raise public awareness of the dire situation in Somalia.
Government also provided transport in the form of a SA National Defence Force C130 Hercules supply plane to the Gift of the Givers to deliver 18 tons of essential food and anti-malaria medication to Mogadishu on August 16.
This latest consignment brought to 112 tons the total aid delivered to Somalia by the Gift of the Givers in a two week period, Motlanthe said.
In addition, government collaborated with other South African based organisations contributing to relief work for Somalis in Somalia and refugee camps in neighbouring countries.
These included Islamic Relief SA, Africa Muslim Agency, Netcare SA, the Al Imdaad Foundation, and the Somali Community Board of SA.
Members of the South African business community were also motivated to contribute and food and other essential items were donated.
“The total amount of the South African contribution, including government and civil society is difficult to quantify at this stage, but certainly exceeds R20m,” he said.
South Africa would make further pledges at the African Union hosted pledging conference this week in Addis Ababa.
“Let me use this opportunity to restate that South Africa, SADC [Southern African Development Community], and the African Union’s position on Somalia is that it is only under conditions of peace, stability, and unity that a humanitarian crisis like this can be mitigated.
“We therefore call on all parties involved to work towards a lasting solution to the political crisis in that country,” Motlanthe said.