President Cyril Ramaphosa has informed parliament that the 1 165 South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will be deployed for another year as part of the UN Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).
This was in a letter sent on 22 March and discussed by the Joint Standing Committee on Defence (JSCD) last week.
Ramaphosa’s letter said South Africa will keep 1 165 SANDF personnel in the Democratic Republic of Congo from 1 April this year through to 31 March 2021. They will form part of the multi-country peacekeeping mission MONUSCO and its Force Intervention Brigade (FIB). The FIB is staffed by three Southern African countries – Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania – and is currently the only UN peacekeeping component with an offensive mandate in executing its civilian protection tasking.
“Total expenditure expected to be incurred for this deployment is R899 675 800,” according to the letter.
Mamagase Elleck Nchabeleng, Chairperson of the JSCD, said that the DRC deployment was supported by the Committee and the ANC’s Thabo Nelson Mmutle welcomed the DRC extension but mentioned that there had been issues relating to the withdrawal of Rooivalk attack helicopters from the DRC.
The Democratic Alliance’s shadow defence minister Kobus Marais said he supported the DRC deployment and believes that the regional deployment of South Africa’s defence forces is important. The troops in the DRC had represented South Africa extremely well, he told the JSCD.