Meyer praises peacekeepers

2009

The South African Defence Review Committee (SADRC) has lauded sterling work of more than one thousand South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members deployed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) under Operation Mistral.

Addressing members of the SANDF deployed in the DRC under the auspices of the United Nations in the North Kivu Province, SADRC chairman Roelf Meyer said the committee was visiting all the units in South Africa and those deployed outside the country such as DRC and Sudan in order to get the current status of “our soldiers deployed in the country and abroad.
“As the Defence Review Committee we are only here in order to observe, and learn what you are doing on the ground which will inform our plan for the future of the Defence Force based on the current experience”, said Meyer.

The SADRC is currently on a sequential trip to DRC, Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopia in order to gather information which will be analysed and inform recommendations to be made to the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu, her office said in a statement. “The committee has been hard at work over the last two months visiting units in South Africa as well as consulting relevant stakeholders of the Defence Force.”

The SANDF members in DRC have managed to make a difference in the lives of Congolese people in the form of stability and development, the statement adds. Thanking them SADRC mmber Tony Yengeni said: “It’s an honour to be here to visit you to hear your views as members of the Defence Force. We convey our sincere gratitude to you, men and women of our country for sacrificing everything to come to this foreign lands leaving behind your friends, your love ones and your people in order to serve the people of South Africa and the Continent. We are proud of you”, added Yengeni.

In the morning the committee had received briefings from the UN officer commanding, General Mohany and Acting Head of Office for Political Affairs for MONUSCO in North Kivu, Axel Queval. “I have never seen so professional, efficient and proactive military (SANDF)”, said Queval according to the press release. “We are thankful for helicopters from South Africa…” he added.

When the committee arrived in Kinshasa on Sunday, they met SA ambassador Ntshiki Mashimbye, whom also praised SANDF members for their “huge contribution in stabilizing the country”. Ambassador Mashimbye recently handed over three battalions to the DRC Defence Force Minister. The latter were trained by the SANDF.