Mission impossible: SANDF stretched in DRC, ignoring porous borders, Mozambique risk - DA MP Kobus Marais

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The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has come under fire from opposition parties for what they term ‘reckless’ foreign mission deployments. This follows an incident where two soldiers were killed and three injured by a mortar bomb at their base in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where they are part of a peacekeeping force. Currently, 2900 South African soldiers are engaged in combat against M23 rebels in the country. Reports have also surfaced in recent days of an expired Denel contract for helicopter maintenance. In an interview with Biznews, the DA Shadow minister for Defence and Military Veterans Kobus Marais emphasised the “irresponsible” deployment of soldiers in the Eastern DRC citing an overstretched and underfunded SANDF with outdated prime mission equipment. Marais exposed challenges in maintaining essential equipment, particularly helicopters, and raised concerns about SANDF’s financial constraints, including the unfunded R2 billion for the DRC mission. Marais suggested withdrawing troops from the DRC to focus on upgrading equipment and prioritising national interests, particularly in Mozambique due to potential security threats. He criticised the lack of clarity on responsibility for troop deployment and the deadlock between Denel and the government. Marais also expressed concerns about our porous borders and the heavy reliance on an ageing reserve force. It is, he says, “like sending guys from the old SADF from an old age home with a R1 rifle” into combat.
23 Feb 3AM English South Africa Investing · Business News

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