DA Calls for Thandi Modise’s Investigation into South African Peacekeepers’ Misconduct in the DRC

DA Calls for Thandi Modise’s Investigation into South African Peacekeepers’ Misconduct in the DRC

Demand for Investigation

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has called upon South Africa’s Defence Minister, Thandi Modise, to launch an investigation into the conduct of eight South African peacekeepers who were recently arrested in the eastern Congolese city of Beni.

Arrest of South African Peacekeepers

These soldiers were part of the United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) and were subsequently deported back to South Africa.

Their arrest was made on charges related to sexual misconduct and violence, tarnishing the reputation of South African peacekeepers.

Attempted Obstruction of Investigation

According to DefenseWeb, a military news website, a senior South African military officer allegedly attempted to obstruct the investigation after the peacekeepers’ arrest.

It was reported that this officer intimidated and threatened UN military police, leading to a physical altercation and an attempted escape by the peacekeepers.

Failure in Command Responsibility

The DA revealed that two other senior South African military officers failed to effectively fulfill their command responsibilities.

This lapse in command and control contributed to the misconduct and ensuing investigations.

DA’s Demand for Ministerial Accountability

Kobus Marais, the DA’s Shadow Minister of Defense and Military Veterans, expressed concern over the lack of accountability and discipline among South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members.

Marais urged Minister Thandi Modise to take responsibility for the alleged misconduct within her portfolio.

Concerns over Military Management

Marais pointed out that the Minister was failing to manage her portfolio effectively and address the breakdown in discipline.

He emphasized the need for accountability and called on Modise to prevent the erosion of the armed forces’ reputation on the international stage.

UN’s Response and Measures Taken

The United Nations mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) released a statement enforcing the Secretary-General’s zero-tolerance policy for sexual exploitation, abuse, and other forms of misconduct.

The initial measures included suspending the concerned peacekeepers from duty, detaining them, and confining them to quarters pending the receipt of additional information for a thorough investigation.

In conclusion, the DA’s demand for an investigation into the misconduct of South African peacekeepers underscores the need for accountability and discipline within the SANDF, while also highlighting the importance of maintaining the reputation of South Africa’s armed forces in international peacekeeping missions.