Home South African Malema slams Ramaphosa for deploying SANDF soldiers in the DRC

Malema slams Ramaphosa for deploying SANDF soldiers in the DRC

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This week, Ramaphosa deployed nearly 3 000 soldiers to the eastern DRC as part of the SADC peacekeeping mission after tensions between the DRC government and rebels in the country flared.

EFF president Julius Malema has criticised President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to deploy members of the SANDF to the Democratic Republic of Congo. Picture: Timothy Bernard Independent Newspapers

This week, Ramaphosa deployed nearly 3 000 soldiers to the eastern DRC as part of the SADC peacekeeping mission after tensions between the DRC government and rebels in the country flared.

EFF president Julius Malema has criticised President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to deploy members of the SANDF to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In the same breath, Malema also accused ANC KwaZulu-Natal provincial secretary Bheki Mtolo of tribalism and rendering the province a “no-go area” for opposition political parties.

Malema was speaking at a media briefing at the party’s headquarters, Winnie Mandela House in Johannesburg, on Thursday following its manifesto launch in Durban at the weekend.

He accused Ramaphosa of deploying the soldiers to finance the ANC election campaign while he knew that the SA army had collapsed, accusing him of sending the soldiers to die.

This week, Ramaphosa deployed nearly 3 000 soldiers to the eastern DRC as part of the SADC peacekeeping mission after tensions between the DRC government and rebels in the country flared.

However, two days later, two SANDF members were killed and three were wounded in a mortar attack.

Malema said it was irresponsible of the country to send soldiers who were not well prepared for combat, and he called for their immediate withdrawal.

“SA deployment of soldiers to DRC is out of order and has to be withdrawn with immediate effect,” he said.

He said the soldiers should be withdrawn as they were not ready for combat, and he further accused the ANC-led government of “collapsing the army”.

He took a swipe at the fitness of some of the soldiers, saying they were not fit enough to defend anything.

“We just don’t have an army. Our army can’t even look after cabbages. I can’t hire them in my farm to look after my cabbages. The ANC has collapsed the army,” Malema said.

He said the army needed a complete overhaul before it was able to take up any mission.

“The army needs to be financed and make sure that it’s properly trained and the necessary equipment needed for the success of the army is provided … the army has collapsed.

“Those people are sent there (the DRC) to be killed because they are not properly trained. They must come back home and we must stop with any military deployment until we are fit and proper.”

He also questioned the finances of the SANDF after there were complaints of a shortage of food for the soldiers in their last mission during the July 2021 unrest.

“The last time they were deployed during the July unrest, they didn’t have food. Who is going to fight on an empty stomach?”

Last year, six soldiers died and three were injured after a veld fire spread to the military base in a Northern Cape army base. The fire destroyed the camp, vehicles, shelter and personal belongings of 1 300 military personnel.

“How do you have a base of the army in the Northern Cape burning down without the army having the capacity to extinguish the fire itself?” Malema asked.

The Presidency has not responded to the call that the SANDF soldiers should return home from the DRC.

Quizzed by journalists on whether he will be standing to be re-elected at the party’s 3rd elective conference at the end of the year, Malema said he was available if nominated.

“All I’ve ever done was to be here for this party. I’ve worked hard for the party to be where it is now. If I’m elected, then I’m available,” Malema said.

Should he succeed, he would be leading the party for the third time in the 10 years of its existence.

Malema also launched an attack on Mtolo, calling him a tribalist who was politically intolerant.

This after he accused Mtolo of trying to sabotage the EFF’s election manifesto that was held at a packed Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday.

“You will never be able to satisfy a tribalist. That’s why we made the decision to go to KZN … Mtolo’s entertainment of tribalism and encouraging, financing their activities is scary.”

He called on South Africans to rise against tribalism.

“We will never stop going to KZN. We will go, politicise our people and make sure our people are not victims of tribalism … The tribalists want to make that place a no-go area. We are not going to allow that,” Malema said.

Mtolo could not be reached for comment.

The Star

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