Cape Town - Support is growing for an African Union (AU) plan to set up a rapid response unit for the continent, South Africa's International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said on Thursday.
During a debate in the South African National Assembly, Nkoana-Mashabane focused on gains made in Africa since the establishment of the Organisation for African Unity (OAU), now called the AU.
On Monday, a decision to form an African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIR) was adopted at an AU summit.
Nkoana-Mashabane said that since then, more African countries had indicated their willingness to join the initiative.
"The current trend of gaining political power unconstitutionally has to be halted," she said.
The minister said this was an interim measure towards the establishment of an African Standby Force to the curb military coups in many countries on the continent.
"Elections should not be a source of dispute and political instability, but a democratic path through which the people decide peacefully on who should govern them, as stipulated in the AU charter on democracy, elections and governance," Nkoana-Mashabane said.
"The stabilisation of the Great Lakes Region, Central Africa, North Africa as well as parts of West Africa and the Horn of Africa requires urgent attention if we are to consolidate the gains we have made in recent years to restore peace to Africa," said Nkoana-Mashabane.
"Libya, Tunisia and Egypt need all of us as they transit towards a new socio-economic and political dispensation," she said.