Newly minted South African brigadier general Patrick Dube has taken over command of the tri nation Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The FIB was created by the UN and is the first ever force to be deployed as blue helmets with an offensive mandate in its efforts to keep the population safe from rebel groupings operating in the country.
Dube took up position in the mission area in the third week of April and the first official confirmation of his deployment came in Parliament last week during the Defence Budget Vote.
He was previously in the DRC as second-in-command of the FIB in 2013/14 when the UN mandated force supported the DRC military – FARDC – to defeat the M23 rebel group utilising the Rooivalk combat support helicopter.
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 in 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.