DR Congo deployment to cost just on a billion Rand


South Africa’s fulfilment of “international obligations toward the United Nations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)” for the next 12 months will cost just short of a billion Rand.

The cost of the next year’s deployment for the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) to the largest UN peacekeeping and peace support mission, MONUSCO, will be R979 253 751. This information is contained in a letter signed by President Jacob Zuma, Commander-in-Chief of the SANDF, and due to be tabled at a meeting of Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Defence (JSCD) today (Friday, May 12).

The Presidency issued a statement on Friday, May 5, saying Zuma was extending the involvement of the South African military in MONUSCO and its Force intervention Brigade (FIB) for another year. The statement gave personnel numbers involved – 1 371 – and the dates – from April 1 this year to March 31, 2018 – but made no mention of cost.

The Presidential letter, dated May 4, was, according to the JSCD notice of the meeting, added as the second – and new agenda – item for the meeting. The only other item on the agenda is a briefing by Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula on the “implementation and funding model of the Defence Review 2015”.

Zuma’s letter indicates he will communicate the contents to the National Council of Provinces and the JSCD. It also requests National Assembly Speaker, Baleka Mbete, to bring the matter to the attention of MPs.

The expense incurred by the SANDF in meeting this continental foreign policy obligation, via the UN, will be paid back to South Africa, following performance evaluations of the various components of the South African military deployment. It is not known how long it takes for this process to be completed but then the UN payment goes into National Treasury’s B7 account.

This, military analyst Helmoed Heitman, said is on the basis the funds were added to the defence budget specifically for the deployment and any reimbursement “must come back to Treasury”.
“The problem is a proportion of the reimbursement is intended to cover wear and tear on equipment, not just allowances and direct expenses, so the defence force is effectively left out of pocket,” he added.