The new man at the helm of the UN Force intervention Brigade (FIB) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is Brigadier General Patrick Dube.
He took up position in the mission area during the third week of April and the first official confirmation of Dube’s deployment – the second South African to command the only UN deployment mandated to use force – came in Parliament last week.
Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula told the National Assembly Dube took over command of the FIB during April. According to the SANDF Directorate: Corporate Communications, the one-star general was named FIB commander “after being identified and rigorously interviewed by the UN for his suitability to lead the mission”.
He succeeds Lieutenant General Derrick Mgwebi, who stood down as FIB commander earlier this year.
Fifty-two-year-old Dube is a former Umkhonto we Sizwe operative who joined the then newly established SA National Defence Force (SANDF) following integration in 1994.
He received his MK military training in Angola, Tanzania and various eastern bloc countries including the German Democratic Republic and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Dube was a former liberation movement armed wing member who integrated to form the SANDF. He entered the new force as a lieutenant.
An infantry officer through and through, Dube was a young officer in an operational unit – 2 SA Infantry Battalion – which exposed him as a platoon commander on his first deployment in Lesotho in 1998/99 during Operation Boleas. He also served as a company commander in internal operations, as a battalion second-in-command in 2003 in the DRC and battalion logistics officer in 2004.
Dube was appointed as the Officer Commanding 21 SA Infantry Battalion in 2006. During two years ibn charge he presided over unit relocation to new premises in Doornkop, south of Johannesburg. He also took charge of preparation and employment of his unit for a number of successful internal operations.
A highlight of his military career to date was his time as FIB second-in-command in 2013/14. This was when the UBN mandated force supported the DRC military – FARDC p to defeat the M23 rebel group with wide use of the Rooivalk combat support helicopter.
Officers who previously worked with Dube are in agreement that he is “both a good man and a good soldier”.