Eight hundred SA National Defence Force personnel, including 100 women, were presented with UN medals for 12 months service in the UN Stabilisation Mission in Congo (MONUSCO) as part of the Mission’s Force Intervention Brigade (FIB).
A parade ceremony was held on 1 July near Beni Airport in Mavivi, North Kivu province in Eastern DRC with battle group commanders present.
The COVID-19 pandemic saw to it that safety protocols including social distancing and wearing masks were in place and adhered to by all present. Only selected FIB members received medals during the medal parade as it was not possible for all to receive medals.
Officer Commanding the South African battalion (RSABATT 2), Lieutenant Colonel Fanisile Kandile highlighted FIB successes, mainly joint operations with the Congolese soldiers and unilateral operations conducted solely by South African soldiers.
Major General Patrick Njabulo Dube, MONUSCO FIB Commander was guest of honour and presiding officer. He presented medals to the South African soldiers for “a great peacekeeping job in DRC over the past 12 months”. He hailed the South African battalion for holding the ground and for showing bravery against Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and other illegal armed groups.
Medal recipients representing other peacekeepers were both proud and honoured to serve peace. One said: “It is a long stretch being here for more than 12 months and the medal marks the end of my tour of duty as a peacekeeper.”