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DA Urges Minister to Probe SA Soldiers’ Scandal in Congo

The Democratic Alliance is urging Defense Minister Thandi Modise to launch an inquiry into the misconduct of eight South African peacekeepers arrested in the eastern city of Beni, Congo.

SA Troops Deported from DRC

These soldiers were part of the United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO). Unfortunately, they were arrested on charges related to sexual misconduct and violence.

Allegations of Obstruction

According to military news site DefenceWeb, a high-ranking South African military officer apparently tried to obstruct the investigation. This officer reportedly intimidated and threatened UN military police after the peacekeepers’ arrest, resulting in a scuffle and an attempted escape. Two other senior South African military officers allegedly failed to properly oversee their personnel.

DA’s Demand for Action

Kobus Marais, the DA Shadow Minister of Defense and Military Veterans, is calling on Minister Modise to take responsibility for the alleged misconduct and lack of discipline within the SANDF members. According to Marais, The Minister is clearly failing to effectively manage her portfolio. There is also a complete lack of accountability for the breakdown in discipline and glaring gaps in command and control.

Marais emphasizes that the Minister owes it to the dedicated men and women who risk their lives in the defense of the nation and democracy to prevent the armed forces from becoming an international embarrassment.

MONUSCO’s Response

In a statement issued by MONUSCO, it affirmed its commitment to the Secretary-General’s zero-tolerance policy for sexual exploitation, abuse, and other misconduct. The statement outlined initial measures, including the suspension of duty, detention, and confinement to quarters for the accused peacekeepers, pending the completion of a comprehensive investigation into the allegations.

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