SANDF has 2 100 soldiers deployed on peacekeeping operations

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The South African National Defence Force has approximately 2 100 soldiers deployed on peacekeeping and peace building initiatives, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan and the Central African Republic.

Lindiwe Sisulu, Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, provided the information in reply to a parliamentary question posted by V M Manzini of the Democratic Alliance in March.
“The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) is deployed on Peacekeeping duties in a number of Peace Missions in several capacities,” Sisulu stated. “These Include United Nations (UN) and African Union (AU) Field Peace Missions, Bilateral Peace Building missions and dedicated Standby Forces to be deployed as part of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Standby Force, which is a component of the AU Standby Force.
“The SANDF is the primary contributor to South Africa’s Peacekeeping and Peace building initiatives and presently has an average of more than 2 300 soldiers, specialists and experts on mission, deployed on external peacekeeping activities since the termination of our extensive involvement supporting the peace process in Burundi.”

South Africa’s current deployment includes 1 242 SANDF members with the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). This includes an Infantry Battalion, Engineering Company, Aviation Unit with three Oryx medium transport helicopters, Specialist Staff Officers and Military Observers.

In addition, a small team of specialists is assisting the DRC Government and Armed Forces with Security Sector Reform (SSR) activities as part of a bilateral assistance agreement. Specific mandated tasks have included verification, security patrols, contributing to security for humanitarian assistance, protection of civilians, humanitarian personnel and human rights defenders under imminent threat of physical violence, support to the Government of the DRC in its stabilization and peace consolidation efforts, according to Sisulu.

At present there are 814 SANDF members deployed with the African Union/United Nations Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID). This includes an Infantry Battalion, Specialist Staff Officers and Military Observers. Specific mandated tasks have included the protection of civilians under imminent threat of violence, contributing to security for humanitarian assistance, monitoring and verifying implementation of agreements, assisting an inclusive political process, contributing to the promotion of human rights and the rule of law.

The SANDF currently has a peace building contingent of 43 military specialists assisting the government of the Central African Republic (CAR) with professional development of their armed forces as part of post conflict reconstruction and development support to Rule of Law development in the CAR through the presentation of more than 20 professional development training courses as authorized through a bilateral assistance agreement between South Africa and CAR.

Since 2007, 1306 members have been trained on 29 courses. This includes many specialities such as Infantry, Intelligence, Artillery, Medical, Special Forces, Logistics, Driving and Maintenance, Leadership and Staff Officers. The defence department noted other successes in the CAR, including refurbishment of base infrastructure in Bouar and Bangui and the effective support of the democratic electoral process through delivery of ballot material and support to the IEC in CAR during 2011.

The SANDF has been involved in more than 15 peace support operations, involving the deployment of around 2 500 military personnel. Deployment areas for these operations have included the DRC, Burundi, Sudan, Côte d’Ivore, Liberia, Nepal, CAR, the Comoros, and Mozambique.