The South African quick reaction force (QRF) attached to MONUSCO’s Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) fittingly used Freedom Day for a medal parade to mark a year of service in the troubled central African country.
In the absence of MONUSCO Force Commander, Brazilian Lieutenant General Rodriguez De Miranda Filho due to operational commitments, the parade at Beni airport was presided over by FIB Commander, Malawian Brigadier General Enoch Ntonya.
He and MONUSCO Head of Office Josiah Obat performed the honours pinning QRF Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Vic Vrolik, and his troops with the United Nations (UN) medal, inscribed “In service of the people”.
Addressing the parade Ntonya said: “On behalf of the MONUSCO Force Commander I congratulate you for the selfless service and bravery you rendered to the people of the DRC. Wear the medals as proud ambassadors of your country and the UN.”
Reflecting on Freedom Day when South Africans went to the polls to elect a democratic government for the first time he said: “South Africans are known to be masters of their own destiny: today in 1994 the South African majority back home cast their first votes which ushered in a new order of democracy characterised by peace and stability. The same peace and stability you constantly pursued in your twelve months for the people of the DRC”.
The South African QRF tour of duty started in May last year. To date it has been part of offensive operations, establishing far-flung temporary operating bases and civil- military co-operation, including medical care, water supply and community work, according to RSABATT public information officer, Lieutenant Rekkie Letsoalo.