SANDF continental deployments extended


That South Africa will continue to honour its commitments to continental peacekeeping and anti-piracy efforts comes in the form of three terse statements from SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Commander-in-Chief, President Jacob Zuma.

Operation Copper, the SADC tri-nation anti-piracy tasking in the Mozambican Channel, has been extended to March 31, 2015. In terms of the agreement entered into between Mozambique, South Africa and Tanzania the operation was due to wrap up next Monday.

The Valour Class frigate, SAS Spioenkop, is currently on station and will be replaced at the beginning of April by an offshore patrol vessel (OPV).

At the same time Zuma extended SANDF contributions to peacekeeping and peace support missions in Darfur and the DRC.

A Presidency statement said: “The employment of 850 SANDF members in Darfur, Sudan, has been extended from April 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015.”

The South Africans are part of the hybrid AU/UN hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID).

South African involvement in the UN Forward Intervention Brigade (FIB) in eastern DRC, part of MONUSCO in the strife-torn central African country, has also been extended until the end of March next year.

An extra six soldiers will join the South African contingent, bringing to 1 351 the number of South African military personnel in DRC.

South African soldiers and equipment have been in the forefront of FIB’s success in forcing M23 out of the country and into Uganda with the locally manufactured Rooivalk combat support helicopter in the vanguard of operations.

On Operation Copper, The Presidency said 220 SANDF members, from the Air Force, Military Health Services and Navy, would continue to be employed in “Mozambican, Tanzanian and international waters monitoring and deterring piracy along the southern African coast of the Indian Ocean”.