South Africa’s sole continental commitment to peacekeeping – the UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) – will continue at least until December 2020.
This is in accordance with a UN Security Council decision to extend the MONUSCO mandate taken at its mid-December meeting. The official Security Council minute notes the mission’s mandate is extended until 20 December 2020. This includes its Force Intervention Brigade (FIB), the first ever UN force to be given an offensive mandate in its efforts to protect civilians. South African soldiers and airmen are integral components brigade with Tanzania and Malawi the other troop and equipment contributing countries to the brigade.
According to the Security Council MONUSCO’s authorised troop ceiling will comprise 14 000 military personnel, 660 military observers and staff officers, 591 police personnel and 1 050 personnel of formed police units, with a further temporary deployment of an additional 360 personnel of formed police units to be deployed in replacement of military personnel.
The Security Council record also notes consideration of a reduction in MONUSCO military deployment and area of operations based on “a positive evolution of the situation on the ground, in particular regions where the threat posed by armed groups is no longer significant”.
The Council also condemned all armed groups operating in the DRC and their violations of international humanitarian law as well as other applicable international law and abuses of human rights and reiterated condemnation of violence, especially attacks on the civilian population.