SANDF must account for bodies burnt in Mozambique Mission

Issued by Kobus Marais MP – DA Shadow Minister of Defence and Military Affairs
11 Jan 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached Afrikaans and English soundbite by Kobus Marais MP.

The DA is disgusted by the video that is doing the rounds of dead bodies being handled in the most disrespectful and undignified manner by soldiers of the Southern African Development Community Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), in Cabo Delgado. At least one of the soldiers at the scene is identifiable as an SANDF member.

We reject the behaviour with the contempt it deserves.

While the South African soldiers deployed in Mozambique are under the Command and Control of SAMIM, they are still members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) under the authorised deployment of the President, and as such subject to the supervision of Parliament.

There are international standards and regulations for dealing with the bodies of the dead in a dignified and human way even in a conflict zone.  Soldiers must adhere to their code of conduct and international standards and practices.

The Minister and Chief of the SANDF should immediately institute a Board of Inquiry (BOI). In the meanwhile, the soldiers involved, and their commanding officers should be recalled to SA and must be suspended to allow for unrestricted investigation into this matter.

The Minister must also fully brief Parliament’s defence Committee on the incident as soon as possible and explain under whose authority and jurisdiction the bodies were burnt and whether those bodies were civilians or combatants.

What is shown on the video is unacceptable and must be rejected in the strongest possible way. This is another embarrassment and an international blunder under the leadership of Minister Modise and President Ramaphosa.