Chief insists SANDF will be ready for DRC mission

2013-05-16 18:01


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pretoria - South African Defence Force soldiers who are training for a United Nations military mission in Congo will be adequately prepared even though the army as a whole is overstretched and underfunded, the army chief said on Thursday.

Lieutenant General VR Masondo also told media at a briefing that the units bound for Congo are being helped in their training by troops who participated in a mission in Central African Republic, or CAR.

In March, rebels there killed 14 SANDF soldiers while seizing the capital, Bangui, and overthrowing president Francois Bozize.

"We have taken heed of the CAR incident and will incorporate the lessons learned from this in preparing for future operations," Masondo said without elaborating.

Analysts said the SANDF lacked air cover and there were questions about why they deployed under a bilateral deal rather than under UN or regional auspices.

The UN Security Council has authorised a new "intervention brigade" for Congo with a mandate to take offensive military action against rebel groups to help bring peace to the eastern part of the vast, mineral-rich country, beset by fighting since the end of the 1994 genocide in neighboring Rwanda.

The Congolese army said 32 people were killed in fighting between Congolese soldiers and militiamen who attacked a town north of Goma on Wednesday.

Masondo said the army's budget of about More than R10bn is not enough to address its needs, which include the replacement of old equipment and dilapidated facilities, and tasks such as foreign missions, border patrols, securing hospitals during worker strikes, the documentation of immigrants and support for the police.

Funding challenges make it difficult "to do everything that we are required to do," Masondo said.

But he acknowledged there is a "dire need" for the South African government to direct resources to social and economic programs in a country with high unemployment and a widening gulf between rich and poor.

He said the troops heading to Congo are "preparing sufficientl", despite shortfalls in the military.

The UN said a contingent of about 100 Tanzanian troops arrived in eastern Congo on 11 May, a first step in assembling a new brigade.

The rest of the troops will arrive in stages, but no clear deadline has been given so far.

Malawi has also pledged troops, though some military experts question whether the envisioned force of several thousand is big enough to restore security.

Read more on:    sandf  |  drc  |  central africa  |  military

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.