SANDF soldiers deployed in the DRC targeted by insurance scammers

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While South African soldiers are fighting in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), some are apparently unknowingly paying premiums for insurance policies that allow unscrupulous scammers to profit from their deaths.

The beneficiaries of the policies that will pay out if these soldiers die in action in the DRC are unknown, a family member told Rapport.

Exactly how the scam took place is now part of an extensive investigation into the military and three major companies – including Avbob and Sanlam – that sell insurance. It only came to light after some of the soldiers’ families, who depend on their pay, reported that less and less money was being deposited into their bank accounts.

Most of the soldiers in the DRC do not earn huge salaries, but are the breadwinners for extended families. They are deployed in that country for a year at a time, during which they do not receive their monthly pay slips and also have no free access to emails or mobile connections, according to Rapport.

Some of the soldiers’ family members approached Rapport in desperation after their loved ones in the DRC had tried in vain to stop the premium deductions themselves.

According to one family member, the soldiers only realised in early June that money for policy premiums was being deducted from their salaries when one of them obtained a copy of his pay slip. It appears that life and funeral policies were taken out in the soldiers’ names without their knowledge or consent.

Department of Defence spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini said that he was in contact with the insurance companies and that progress had already been made with the investigations.

South African National Defence Force troops are deployed in the DRC under the United Nations’ Monusco mission, which is currently winding down, and the Southern African Development Community Mission in the DRC (SAMIDRC). Several South African soldiers have been killed this year during contacts with M23 rebels, and over a dozen wounded in separate incidents.