Respected military analyst Helmoed Heitman is adamant the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) and the Department of Defence and Military Veterans (DoDMV) must recognise the contribution of retired lieutenant general Derrick Mgwebi via a decoration.
Mgwebi recently completed an extended tour as force commander for the UN’s largest peacekeeping and peace support mission – MONUSCO in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). While in the central African country he headed up the mission’s Force Intervention Brigade (FIB), the only UN peacekeeping deployment to be given an offensive mandate to support its actions.
The former SANDF Joint Operations Division Chief returned to South Africa on completion of his tour last month, according to the MONUSCO Public Affairs office in Kinshasa, and is no longer a SANDF member.
defenceWeb asked the SANDF’s corporate communications directorate if there was any plan or intention to honour the former three star general for his contribution to peacekeeping on the African continent. At the time of publication no response had yet been received.
Heitman, on the other hand, responded smartly and gave three reasons why Mgwebi’s service in the DRC should be recognised and rewarded.
“He deserves a South African decoration because he had South African troops under his command and employed them to good effect. Additionally, his performance in the post was to the benefit of the reputation of both the SANDF and South Africa and finally, his duties as MONUSCO force commander were to the direct economic benefit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and South Africa,” Heitman said.