Defence and Military Veterans minister Lindiwe Sisulu has applauded the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) for the role it is playing in the Congolese election.
“South Africans must be proud that our Defence Force is contributing in building and strengthening democracy on the continent. To the Chief of the SANDF and all our soldiers deployed in the Congo, we are proud of you, and the people of Congo will never forget the role you played in this important election,” said Sisulu, who returned from Kinshasa on Saturday. The minister visited to the country to sign off on all the responsibilities of the SANDF in preparation for today’s election, the state BuaNews agency reports.
By Thursday, the SANDF, along with UNair, the Angola defence force, rented planes and the Congolese defence force, had completed its first task – collecting ballot papers from printers in South Africa and delivering them to 13 main hubs inside the DRC and also supporting the distribution to 210 hubs and sub-hubs.
The SANDF also supported the Congolese military in moving tents, stationery and other necessities of the election. The minister called on South Africans and Africans to support the DRC during the election.
“This election will not only strengthen democracy, but will also ensure that the people of Congo build on the economic development achievement and continue on the path to rebuild their country,” she said.
The SANDF will remain in the DRC until all elements of the election have been concluded. The SA military will also help transport and protect SADC observers. In total over 90 helicopters from different stakeholders, 26 fixed wing planes and hundreds of trucks are supporting the Congolese electoral authority, CENI, in coordinating the elections logistics.