South Africa is one of 125 countries contributing to United Nations peace missions worldwide.
Its contribution is currently limited only to the Democratic Republic of Congo where 1 156 soldiers, 203 of them female, are part of the world body’s largest peacekeeping mission, MONUSCO.
Making up the total South African contingent are 15 military experts, 25 staff officers and three representatives of the SA Police Service.
All told mission strength is 20 688 made up of 15 350 troops, 323 mission experts, 1 351 police, 183 staff officers and 369 UN volunteers.
Apart from South Africa, the top 10 other countries contributing to MONUSCO are currently Pakistan (3 455), India (2 623), Bangladesh (1 704), Tanzania (1 135), Uruguay (931), Nepal (893), Malawi (861), Morocco (833) and Ghana (477).
MONUSCO is also the home of the UN Force intervention Brigade (FIB) – headed up until recently by former SA National Defence Force Joint Operations Chief, now retired Lieutenant General Derrick Mgwebi.
The FIB came into being following the adoption of resolution 2098 by the UN Security Council in March 2013 to further support the MONUSCO mandate. It is aimed at protecting civilians and consolidating peace in the central African country. The FIB is staffed by Malawian, South African and Tanzanian soldiers and includes an aviation detachment with South African Rooivalk combat support and Oryx medium transport helicopters as major contributors to successful operations and sorties against various rebel forces.