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SANDF deployment to the DRC is reckless and must be reversed 


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SANDF deployment to the DRC is reckless and must be reversed 

SANDF deployment to the DRC is reckless and must be reversed 

10th January 2024


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/ MEDIA STATEMENT / The content on this page is not written by, but is supplied by third parties. This content does not constitute news reporting by

The deployment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) as part of the SADC's military intervention force to the eastern DRC is a reckless decision that will potentially place the lives of our uniformed forces at severe risk. The DA is calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as the Commander in Chief, to immediately rescind this decision and recall our troops once the MONUSCO obligations have come to an end.

According to reports, the SANDF was deployed on 13 December 2023 to lead a SADC military mission to eastern DRC to replace the UN’s MONUSCO whose mandate is ending this year, after a 20-year deployment. The SANDF deployment is expected to work with the DRC national security forces to fight the M23 rebels.


The reality is that the SANDF does not have the capacity to effectively pursue an anti-insurgency campaign against the M23 rebels and neither does it have the prime mission equipment to support the ground forces. For example, the SANDF has no Rooivalk helicopters available and the five Oryx in the DRC will likely be reduced to two during the course of that DRC deployment.

Military experts have warned that without proper air cover as well as transport and air elements, the SANDF/SADC intervention brigade will find it difficult to operate in hostile terrain.


Perhaps the greatest risk that the SANDF faces is that their adversary, the M23 rebels, has operated in the eastern DRC for many years and are familiar with the terrain. Unless the intervention force led by the SANDF is well constituted in terms of size and rapid mobility, they would be at the mercy of the M23 rebels who have become adept at using guerrilla tactics. This is precisely why MONUSCO and the East African Community Regional Force have failed for 20 years to end the M23 rebellion in the eastern DRC.

Based on this grim situation, it is clear that Ramaphosa took a political decision to put SANDF members in the line of fire without first considering the technical capabilities currently available in our military value chain. The DA holds the view that the expediency of SADC politics cannot trump the reality of the deplorable state of our deteriorated military capabilities. Whether Ramaphosa likes it or not, the SANDF is in no position to pursue an effective anti-insurgency campaign due to limited prime mission equipment and resources to provide adequate support to the ground troops.

The ANC government's priorities are clearly misplaced as they would prefer to pursue politically expedient military interventions in the region at the expense of welfare for our troops and ordinary South Africans back home. The DA strongly opposes the reckless deployment of our troops and to advance our nation's integrity and the safety of our people.


Issued by Kobus Marais MP - DA Shadow Minister of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development


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