SANW in DRC: ‘More will die’


The DA warned anew on Thursday that more members of the South African National Army (SANW) could die in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“It is with great sadness that the DA learned of two members of the South African National Defense Force who lost their lives in the DRC and another three who were wounded,” said Kobus Marias, the DA’s shadow minister of defence.

RNews reported that a mortar bomb in the east of the DRC claimed the lives of two army members on Wednesday, when it landed inside one of the army bases. These are the first recorded deaths since South African troops were deployed in December last year to help stop the insurgency in the area.

The DA expressed its condolences to the family members and said pres. Cyril Ramaphosa now has blood on his hands.

“Two days ago we already warned the president that it would be a mistake to deploy more members of the army to the DRC. The South African military simply does not have the capacity to successfully conduct a counterinsurgency campaign against M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Ramaphosa sends SANW members to their deaths.”

Marais says it is even more worrying that Ramaphosa is sending our troops unprepared into an active war zone, without proper military equipment to navigate the complex terrain. “Without proper air cover and transportation, SANW members will find it difficult to operate effectively in the eastern areas of the DRC.”

The news website Defense Web also reported on Thursday that the M23 rebels have highly advanced technological weaponry at their disposal. This includes “sophisticated guided mortar munitions”, as well as ground-launched missiles to shoot down aircraft or other missiles.

Earlier in the month, serious damage was caused to the army’s only deployable Oryx helicopter in the DRC, when the helicopter was reportedly fired upon.

Marais says parliament now has the responsibility to prevent further loss of life.

“Although the Constitution specifically gives the president the power to deploy the army, parliament must not blindly allow it when the president makes decisions that put our sons and daughters at risk. As an oversight body, parliament should take active steps to review the merits of Ramaphosa’s decision.”