Pretoria – A 20-member South African Department of Defence delegation is this week heading to the United States of America to attend the 19th RSA-USA Defence Committee Meeting in Washington.
The two-day meeting from Wednesday, (7 June 2023), will see the South African delegation engage the United States Department of Defence on a range of defence-to-defence and military cooperation matters.
The SA Department of Defence delegation will be led by the Acting Secretary for Defence Dr. Thobekile Gamede, as the Head of the Department, supported by the Chief of Staff of the Defence Force Lieutenant General Michael Ramantswana and a range of senior officials and subject experts of the Defence Department.
The 18th RSA-USA Defence Committee was hosted by South Africa in 2019, in Pretoria, South Africa.
Prior to that, the Parties met in 2018 at Fort Hamilton, New York as hosts of the New York National Guard.
“The Parties could not meet thereafter due to the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic which limited international travel,” explained the SA Defence Department on Monday.
“The 19th Defence Committee meeting is, therefore, the continuation and consolidation of the Strategic Defence Relationship and partnership between the two countries and will deliberate on a range of issues, including continued discussion on the issues raised in the previous Defence Committee Meetings in 2017 and 2019.
“The parties will strategise the way forward for the next number of years, and will conclude a defence cooperation plan to give effect to all decisions taken and to deepen the high level of cooperation that exists between them.”
The bilateral relationship between SA and the U.S.A. was formalised with the signing of a Defence Cooperation Agreement in 1995, which provided for the establishment of an RSA-US Defence Committee.
The Defence Committee was subsequently established on 29 July 1997 with the signing of the terms of reference by then SA Minister Joe Modise and U.S.A. Secretary William Cohen.
Meetings are to be held every 12 months alternately in the RSA and USA.
“The Defence Committee remains an important and consistent forum of bilateral cooperation between the RSA and the USA, and has evolved over the past years to constitute multiple work groups,” said the SA Department of Defence.
“The RSA-USA defence-to-defence relationship has realised a range of engagements and exchanges at various levels, such as the recent Exercise Shared Accord, and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future.”