With less than two months to go on a 12 month continental peacekeeping deployment, 15 SA Infantry Battalion’s Alpha Company was recognised by the UN with a medal parade.
The UN medal will, according to Warrant Officer Class Two BR Isaacs, “serve as recognition, highlighting the company’s contribution in peacekeeping operations as well as successes achieved”.
The unit will return to its Thohoyandou home base in Limpopo next month with replacement 21 SA Infantry Battalion ready to take up station in eastern DR Congo following jungle warfare training and other preparations at the SA Army mobilisation centre outside Bloemfontein.
Professional working relationships with local government forces (FARDC), Congolese national police, community leadership and communities in the Beni area of eastern DR Congo were initiated and maintained during the deployment.
15 SAI’s Alpha Company, according to Isaacs, has a high number of women aligning it to a UN resolution on equality and gender mainstreaming.
In its ranks, the company has female officers as well as a female company sergeant major, a number of non-commissioned officers (NCOs) and privates.
“Alpha Company women proved beyond expectation women are capable soldiers in a hostile environment utilised in the front line of operations, eradicating gender stereotypes. The women of Alpha Company are always involved in operations and fulfilled a huge role in engagements between MONUSCO and local communities gathering information and reporting to MONUSCO on the negative impact of killings and violence on civilians, in particular women and children.