South Africa’s latest DRC deployment to cost more than R400 million


South Africa’s fulfilment of international obligations to the UN will see the country deploy 1 345 soldiers to the DRC at a cost of more than R400 million.

This was announced today by the Commander-in-Chief of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), President Jacob Zuma.

The full cost of the deployment is R402 800 000.
“The members will participate in the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) as part of the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) following from the mandate reflected in UN Security Council resolution 2098,” a Presidency statement said.

The South African deployment has been in place since June 13 and is set to end on March 31 next year.
“Our soldiers are doing exceptionally well on the continent. We congratulate them and assure them of the support of their compatriots as they continue to contribute to the building of a better Africa, as a force for peace. We are proud of them and their contribution to African renewal and development,” Zuma said.

With conflict again erupting between FARDC (the DRC armed forces) and various rebel groups in eastern DRC over recent weeks the UN-led peacekeeping force in the country this week deployed helicopters to provide protection for civilians caught up in fighting around Pinga in North Kivu.

SANDF head of communications Siphiwe Dlamini told News24 South African soldiers in the DRC have not been involved in armed combat with rebels there.
“I can confirm FARDC engaged with M23. We (the SANDF) are in a defensive line – we are not engaging.”

On the FIB he said it was mandated to engage “armed groups”.
“They will not wait and watch while civilians are being attacked by armed groups. They will intervene to engage, neutralise and disarm.”

The FIB is the first UN peacekeeping force to ever be given an offensive mandate. It is under the command of Tanzanian Brigadier James Mwakibolwa and the more than 3 000 strong brigade is made up of soldiers from Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania. Indications are it will be fully operational by next month to start execution of its offensive operations mandate.