Johannesburg – The South African National Defence Forces (SANDF) has lashed out at media allegations that it failed to cooperate with the United Nations (UN) in regards to allegations of abuse and sexual exploitation by its members against civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The UN says five South African soldiers are facing allegations of sexual misconduct in the DRC for the abuse of four adults and a minor between 2014 and 2016.
“In view of these allegations having surfaced SANDF swiftly moved to send its legal officers and investigators to the mission area to deal with the efficacy of such reports,” said SANDF in a Thursday press release.
“Once again it must be noted that these investigations are being conducted in close liaison with the UN office in the (DRC),” added SANDF.
SANDF added that it deplored such behaviour from any of its members and took these allegations in the most serious light.
“As previously stated, the South African National Defence Force wishes to reiterate its stance against any abuse of civilian members or the population where it is deployed in support of the peacekeeping efforts of the UN,” said SANDF.
“It is however disturbing and disconcerting as reported in the media to be accused of not cooperating with the UN in such matters, whereas the truth is the opposite.”
The military said it had also reacted with speed to such incidences in the past with the aim of ensuring that there was justice seen to be done. If there was evidence of wrongdoing by SANDF members it had to be dealt with immediately as has happened before where such allegations were found to be true.
The chief of the SANDF, General Solly Shoke, is on record as having emphasised that ill-discipline and criminal behaviour would not be tolerated and those found to have transgressed the Code of Conduct and Military Disciplinary Code would be dealt with without fear or favour.
African News Agency/ANA