Deployment of nearly 3000 SANDF members to strife-torn DRC costs R2bn

South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members deployed in DRC.

South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members deployed in DRC.

Published Apr 10, 2024


President Cyril Ramaphosa has informed Parliament of the deployment of nearly 3 000 SANDF members to fulfil the country’s international obligations in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

In his letter to National Council of Provinces chairperson Amos Masondo, Ramaphosa said the deployment of the SANDF was for service in fulfilment of an international obligation of South Africa towards the SADC Mission to support and assist DRC between December 2023 and December 2024.

“I have employed 2 900 SANDF members for service of an international obligation of the Republic of South Africa towards the SADC under Operation Thiba in order to support and assist the DRC in her fight against illegal armed groups and negative forces in the eastern DRC, and ultimately to restore peace and security in the highly affected areas of North Kivu and South Kivu,” Ramaphosa said.

He said the expenditure regarding the deployment of the SANDF to the DRC would amount to R2 371 108 511.

“I will communicate this report to members of the National Assembly and wish to request that you bring the contents hereof to the attention of the National Council of Provinces,” Ramaphosa added.

His letter was published in the parliamentary communiqué, Announcement, Tablings and Committee Reports, on Tuesday. It came just a day after a South African soldier was among four SADC soldiers killed in the DRC.

“This unfortunate incident happened after a hostile mortar round had fallen near the camp they were staying at,” the SADC confirmed in a statement released on Monday.

According to the SADC, the South African soldier died while receiving treatment for health challenges at a hospital in Goma, DRC.

The soldiers were deployed under the auspices of the SADC as part of a regional response to address the unstable and deteriorating security situation prevailing in the eastern DRC.

“The SADC family expresses its heartfelt condolences to the beloved families and the governments of the Republic of South Africa and the United Republic of Tanzania on the irreplaceable loss of the deceased soldiers and, at the same time, wishes the three injured soldiers speedy recovery”.

In February, two soldiers were killed and three were wounded at an SANDF camp in the DRC after a mortar attack on the military base there.

Cape Times