Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula wants a permanent end to sexual abuse and exploitation (SEA) in the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).
According to a statement, she told a communication session of National Defence Force generals and flag officers she was “disappointed at the rate of SEA incidents still prevalent in the external deployment areas”. South Africa, according to the Ministerial statement, is ranked among the highest troop contributing countries (TCCs) to UN peacekeeping and peace support missions “faced with paternity claims for making babies in UN deployments”.
“This has become a serious factor in the assessment of our performance by the UN. It places us at a serious disadvantage in discussions for the forces/TCCs [troop contributing countries] to be withdrawn first during the MONUSCO [United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo] and FIB [Force Intervention Brigade] drawdown process,” she said in the statement. The communication session was held at the SA Military Healthy Service (SAMHS) Training Formation.
Internally, the Minister noted she “has become aware of rampant SEA cases in deployment areas as well as in the working environment”.
“I have been mulling over these and have decided to institute an investigation, short of a commission, by external role players into this scourge.
“This approach is because I do not have the confidence that the military and especially yourselves, generals and flag officers, will provide me with satisfactory reports, given you have been aware of these and turned a blind eye.
“Our own Inspector General, Defence Intelligence (Counter Intelligence), Military Police, to mention specific entities, can and should have done more to bring these to the attention of CSANDF [Chief of the SANDF] and myself.
“The modalities of this investigation as well as the terms of reference and time frames will be promulgated once finalised. I expect full co-operation from you,” she stated in her address to the communication session with top officers from the four services – SA Air Force, SA Army, SA Military Health Service and SA Navy.