Political parties have called on the Department of Defence to take tough action against eight SANDF members who have been recalled from a UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo following allegations of sexual misconduct.
POLITICAL parties have called on the Department of Defence to take tough action against eight SANDF members who have been recalled from a UN peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo following allegations of sexual misconduct.
The Department of Defence said it had recalled the implicated SANDF members after it received a UN report about allegations against South African soldiers who were deployed under the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the DRC (Monusco).
“It is alleged in the UN report that on Sunday, October 1, 2023, eight SANDF soldiers deployed in Beni were apprehended by the UN Military Police (UN MP) for being in direct breach of the curfew time and other regulations related to sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA).”
Kobus Marais, the DA spokesperson on Defence and Military Veterans, said the soldiers and their superiors were embarrassing the country.
“It’s another example where the political will is absent to ensure that the SANDF is a disciplined army with 100% of their focus on carrying out their tasks in the DRC, and to ensure the integrity of our nation.”
Marais added that the SANDF members must be brought before a military court as soon as possible.
“If we do not act immediately and in a very strong way, we can not expect to be taken seriously and treated with respect by the UN and all its member states. According to our Constitution, our army must be a disciplined army. Every soldier deployed to a UN peacekeeping force is made aware of their SEA zero-tolerance policy.”
IFP national spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said the allegations against the SANDF members were a serious matter.
“We as the IFP believe that the decision to recall the SANDF members is the right course of action. This is not the first time that there have been allegations against SANDF members, and it is shocking to see allegations like this against SANDF members when we face a crisis of gender-based violence.
“We ask the minister of defence to bring about appropriate action in these allegations to restore the integrity of the SANDF.”
Tseko Mafanya, an EFF MP and member of the portfolio committee on defence and military veterans, said: “If this is true, the SANDF members must face the full might of the law and consequences of criminal charges.”
The department said that due to the serious nature of the allegations, the SANDF took a decision to recall the implicated soldiers back to South Africa to answer to the allegations and to give an account of the events that transpired on October 1.
It added that national investigating officers had been dispatched to the Monusco deployment area to conduct a formal investigation.