Home National Ramaphosa to Deploy 2,900 Troops to DRC in Regional Peacekeeping Effort

Ramaphosa to Deploy 2,900 Troops to DRC in Regional Peacekeeping Effort

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SANDF

President Cyril Ranaphosa on SANDF Deployment

Johannesburg – President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced the deployment of 2,900 members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to join the Southern African Development Community (SADC) mission in the conflict-ridden eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The move aims to assist in the restoration of peace and stability in the region, where escalating violence threatens the security of millions.

With a commitment to fulfilling South Africa’s international responsibilities, President Ramaphosa ordered the deployment as part of the regional collective under SADC. The DRC has been beleaguered by the M23 rebel group, among other factions, that pose a significant threat to the area, particularly around the North Kivu provincial capital, Goma.

Decades of conflict in eastern Congo involving a complex network of armed factions have led to unspeakable human cost, with reports claiming lives lost in the hundreds of thousands, and displacements affecting over seven million people. The SADC Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (SAMIDRC) was initiated on December 15, 2023, to implement support measures to the Congolese government against a backdrop of rising tensions with rebel forces.

“The employment will cover the period from December 15, 2023, to December 15, 2024, and was authorised in accordance with the provisions of section 201(2)(c) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa,” stated the Presidency on Monday. The indicated budget for the operation amounts to just over R2 billion, which has been assured not to influence the defense force’s standard functions or emergency readiness.

The SADC bloc, of which the DRC is also a member, comprises 16 countries that share the collective responsibility to deploy forces in the region. The SAMIDRC’s establishment was sanctioned during the Extraordinary SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government in Windhoek, Republic of Namibia, on May 8, 2023. This summit was a critical moment in the formulation of a concerted regional approach to the dire security landscape of eastern DRC.

Soldiers from Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, and elements of the DRC’s own military, Forces Armees de la Republic Democratique du Congo (FARDC), will operate jointly against various insurgent groups. The cooperation is designed to disrupt and neutralize entities that perpetuate violence and instability in the area.

SADC, in a statement released earlier this year, reiterated the essential function of the SAMIDRC in emphasizing SADC member states’ dedication to assisting the DRC in its struggle for peace and stability. The ultimate goal, as expressed by SADC, is to foster conditions conducive to sustainable development and prosperity for the Congolese population.

President Cyril Ramaphosa salutes SANDF for their selflessness
President Ramaphosa salutes SANDF for their selflessness

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