Sisulu again headed for Congo


Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu this afternoon will arrive in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for a final logistics briefing and sign off on South African allocated responsibilities for the elections to be held Sunday and Monday.

The minister visited DRC this Sunday and Monday 21 and met stakeholders including the Independent Electoral Commission (SENI) and the head of the UN mission in the Congo, MONUSCO. The SENI requested the minister to assist with military planners, additional helicopters and other infrastructure to ensure that ballot papers are distributed to 210 hubs, and then to 63 865 voting stations working with the DRC armed forces. The Chief of the SANDF, General Solly Shoke immediately deployed the Chief of Joint Operations, Lieutenant General Derrick Mgwebi and a team of planners and logistics experts to work with the SENI in planning logistics to ensure that all ballot papers are delivered to the 210 hubs and to voting stations.

South Africa, Angola and the private sector in the DRC has since increased the number of helicopters and fixed wing planes to ensure that all ballot papers are delivered within the deadlines, Sisulu’s office said in a statement.

Ballot papers for the elections were printed in South Africa and are already delivered to the 13 hubs and the 210 sub hubs by the SANDF. Speaking at the two days International Defence Review Seminar she is hosting in Cape Town the Minister said the DRC elections are very important for DRC , SADC and Africa to move forward and strengthen democracy and begin a journey for improving the lives of their people.
“In my recent visit I met with the Electoral Commission (SENI), the Government and our Ambassador and they all agree that ordinary Congolese see this as an opportunity to move forward, to strengthen their democracy and to put away their history of violence and focus in building their society and economy. South Africa under UN and as a country has given all the support requested for this elections to be successful, we have more than 1000 soldiers there, I have sent a team of senior generals let by General Mgwebi, one of our best logistics generals, who worked in Burundi and was also there in the DRC during the 2006 general elections, he is accompanied by the best”, she said.

The minister added that she is returning back to the DRC today to make sure that all that we promised have been kept and to thank all the soldiers deployed there for their sacrifices to ensure that the people of Congo have successful elections.