SANDF tells of tough DRC job

2011-12-13 20:10

Pretoria - The SA National Defence Force was engaged in a very difficult operation involving the transportation of ballot papers for the Democratic Republic of Congo's presidential elections, a senior official said on Tuesday.

"We had so many tons to move and the weather was against us. It was in the rainy season and some of our helicopters cannot move when it's raining. We were also working against time," SA National Defence Force chief of joint operations Lieutenant General Derrick Mgwebi said in Pretoria.

Mgwebi said the army had been approached by the international relations and co-operation department to help move material for the November 28 polls.

"To execute this operation in the short period, the SANDF chartered various aircraft which included Boeing 747, IL76, MD11, DC9 and a C130. The SANDF transported a total of 1 863 tons of election material with 39 flights using the various aircraft."

Mgwebi said that before the elections the DRC government had asked for further help in distributing and collecting ballot material in the southern parts of the country.

"This additional request required that the SANDF had to deploy additional aircraft and support staff to assist with the distribution. All the assets will return to South Africa after the successful execution of the operation."


The cost of the DRC operation still had to be ascertained.

Violent protests and looting followed the announcement of the results on Friday, leading to a crackdown on protests by the country's military forces. At least four people were reported dead in the unrest.

Mgwebi, however, believed the country was in a position to contain the instability without approaching other countries for assistance.

"In my view, having been there and up to now, in terms of the levels of security, I do not foresee a state where the DRC will be asking anybody to come and help. Remember they also have the Monusco troops there," he said.

Monusco is the acronym used for the United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Congo.

  • Squeegee - 2011-12-13 20:16

    O my goodness - our troops were involved in the mess up in the DRC vote. Why am I not suprised?

      Moss - 2011-12-14 08:53

      Go play with mxit or facebook!!

  • Comrade - 2011-12-13 20:29

    Must be tough, for a lazy bunch of losers.

  • Paris - 2011-12-13 21:16

    South Africa is well involved in RDC since Oct 1996.All if not the equipments of the various rebels groups is made in South Africa,the rwandan patriotic front(RPF) was partly trained and equiped by South Africa, The fake 5 million ballot papers marked for kabila came from south africa with the blessing of the ANC.Do you see why congolese marched in South Africa?

  • Jim - 2011-12-13 21:21

    So - after the arms deal fiasco we still have to charter God knows how many aircraft when the SANDF has to actually do something??? In addition some of our helicopters cannot fly in the rain??? Most wars are not fought in perfect weather conditions _ SANDF wake up to reality and the "Bag Lady" who runs what used to be known as Foreign Affairs (when it actually functioned properly) - do some forward planning and do NOT wait until the last minute before creating yet another crisis.

      Stefan - 2011-12-14 09:32

      Jim, helicopters do not dissolve when they get wet. Don't believe everything the media tells you. Off course they can and do fly in the rain.

  • pkmaboko - 2011-12-13 21:40

    Shame.....Corruption and fraud are tough job......The SA army was helping "KABILA FRAUD" to happen

      johnkk - 2011-12-13 22:12

      That is our government that we so proudly voted for.

  • spartan888 - 2011-12-13 23:56

    More South African tax payers money being wasted

      Hunter - 2011-12-14 08:20

      I really do wonder who is paying for this? Why did we get involved? Maybe some diamond consessions for Dr. Zuma and cronies. Or just a stake in some of the Chinese owned mines along the copper belt...who knows, but the cost for the operation will probably be for the SA taxpayer's account.

  • Carlo Hayes - 2011-12-14 07:06

    I never once heard the old army complain about hard work!!!

      Stefan - 2011-12-14 09:40

      I do not see any complaining in this article. In any event, Gen Mgwebi is from the "old army".

  • Gregory Jurgens - 2011-12-14 07:56

    So glad we could assist the Congo. That will really make the unemployed , and hungry south Africans sleep better at night.

      Stefan - 2011-12-14 09:41

      Good ties with the mineral rich DRC will in the long run create more jobs for SA. There's a bigger picture to be seen here.

      spartan888 - 2011-12-14 10:40

      Stefan, how will employing congolese miners and a few south african engineeers and geologists create employment for SA's poor??? The DRC is an extremely hostile place to work. The useless joke of an army (the sandf) os just there wasting our tax money

      Stefan - 2011-12-14 13:12

      Spartan, the various planned contracts (highways, dams, hydro-electric plants and the running of 2 large airports, etc) will create more than just skilled jobs in DRC and for those companies back in SA. Also these contracts will bring money into the country. That means a strengthening of the economy which means more jobs (I'm not gonna explain this further, google it). Also you are exaggerating the "extremely hostile" working environment. Sure, there's malaria and lots of rain, but you can have a beer and eat a pizza while watching the game on DSTV. It's hardly Mars. Now explain to me how our "useless joke of an army" managed to get the job done in record time in such an "extremely hostile place". Bit of a contradiction.

      spartan888 - 2011-12-14 16:11

      Stefan. I see you worked for the sandf clowns. So nothing anyone says will ever cause you to see the light. Our army is a joke and everybody (save for the sandf employees) knows it.

      spartan888 - 2011-12-14 16:12

      Also Stefan, go to the congoloese jungle like i did as a geologist and then talk to me about how hostile the drc is

      Stefan - 2011-12-14 20:37

      Great comeback.

  • Taun - 2011-12-14 08:18

    This is just media looking for hype where there is none. No where does it say that the SANDF was unable to do their job properly, they simply mention that weather was against them. If you have any idea what conditions are like in places like the Congo, you would know that heavy rains do actually make most things a lot harder to do. Also, the chartered aircraft most likely came from local charter companies, as it would be more efficient to make use of planes that are already in the region, then it would be to ferry extra aircraft from South Africa for such a short operational period.

  • Hunter - 2011-12-14 08:22

    We shall be hearing of the SA troops caught for diamond smuggling in reports following shortly...

      spartan888 - 2011-12-14 10:41

      pfff no doubt. Maybe they should use thoise diamonds to buy better aircraft than the ones mentioned LOL, those above mentioned aircraft are an embarrassment

  • Guelord - 2011-12-14 10:49

    Their missions not yet accomplished

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