Johannesburg - The heavy equipment used by South African military engineers working on roads in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) can only be serviced in South Africa, the defence department said on Tuesday.
“They (DRC) don't have the parts we need... you can't find it in that area where we are working,” spokesman Siphiwe Dlamini said.
“The equipment that is there needs to be serviced, but because of the situation there we have to service it here, and that is the challenge we are having. The DRC is at war with itself, it's simple logic.”
According to a report in Beeld, the equipment involved was graders, bulldozers and cranes.
The newspaper reported that only nine of the 45 pieces of heavy equipment being used by the engineers were serviceable, and that Bangladeshi engineers had taken over the roadworks from South Africa.
Dlamini dismissed this.
“That is sinister what they wrote. We are working together with other countries with regards to the road infrastructure.”
He said South African military engineers had many problems in the DRC.
“We are not working in New York, where we can buy that equipment there,” said Dlamini.
“Congo is a difficult terrain. With everything we do our troops have to be supported by South Africa. There is no support on the ground in the DRC. The equipment and trucks we need are only in South Africa.”