South Africa

South Africa sends 2,900 troops to the DRC

SANDF soldiers 1

President Cyril Ramaphosa has ordered the deployment of 2,900 South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members to aid in the fight against illegal armed groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The presidency revealed late on Monday night that this fulfils South Africa’s international obligation towards the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) mission to the country.

ALSO READ: Militants linked to Islamic State kill 5 civilians in DR Congo

“The employment will cover the period from 15 December 2023 to 15 December 2024, and it was authorised in accordance with the provisions of section Section 201(2)(c) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa,” a statement from the presidency read.

“The budgeted expenditure to be incurred for the employment amounts to just over R2 billion.

“This expenditure will not impact provisions for the defence force’s regular maintenance and emergency repairs.

“The obligation to contribute troops to the SADC mission in the DRC is borne by all SADC member states.”

Under fire

A week ago, the SANDF confirmed that one of its Oryx helicopters came under fire while en route from Rwindi to Goma in the Eastern DRC.

The Oryx, under the United Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Monusco), was conducting casualty evacuation in Rwindi.

According to defence force spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini, the pilot and commander of the aircraft suffered a gunshot wound to his finger, while the Ops Medic on the flight was injured in the chest. He is in a stable condition.

“The rest of the passengers onboard suffered no injuries, and the helicopter landed safely in Goma,” said the SANDF in a statement.

The SANDF’s deployment to the DRC has not been without controversy, with eight soldiers having been recalled from the DRC due to serious allegations of misconduct in October last year.

READ MORE: Two SANDF members injured after helicopter comes under fire in DRC

Additional reporting by Vhahangwele Nemakonde.