Eight members of the South African National Army (SANW), who are part of the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), have been arrested in connection with alleged sexual abuse.
The UN also suspended these soldiers.
Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN Secretary General, said the body acted immediately following allegations that the eight members of the UN peacekeeping force were guilty of serious misconduct.
The UN Office for Internal Oversight Services has since launched an investigation into the allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse.
Kobus Marais, the DA’s spokesperson on defence, says Minister Thandi Modise should take responsibility for the alleged misconduct and lack of discipline shown by the army members in the DRC.
Marais says it is clear that the minister is not managing her portfolio efficiently. “There is also a total lack of accountability for the breakdown in discipline and glaring gaps in command and control.”
The opposition party is now calling for a full internal investigation to be launched into the allegations as well as the actions (or lack thereof) of the SANW officers in charge of the mission.
“The minister must know that the defense portfolio is more than just an opportunity to dress up and attend parades. It deals with real issues of life and death of military personnel and civilians within our borders,” says Marais.
“The minister owes it to the brave men and women who risk their lives in the defense of our country and our democracy not to reduce our armed forces to an international embarrassment.”