DA demands accountability as Oryx helicopter ambushed in the DRC

Issued by Kobus Marais MP – DA Shadow Minister of Defence and Military Veterans
02 Feb 2024 in News

Please find attached soundbites in English and Afrikaans by Kobus Marais MP.

This morning, our only mission-deployable Oryx in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) came under heavy fire, resulting in severe damage to the aircraft. The Oryx sustained at least 40 bullet holes, with its hydraulic system significantly compromised. The pilot and one crew member were injured, and the pilot was taken to the theatre for urgent medical intervention.

This unfortunate incident raises serious concerns about the safety and capability of our defense forces. The DA firmly believes that this tragic event might have been averted if the ANC had not played a role in diminishing the capabilities of the South African Air Force (SAAF). Specifically, the lack of at least two Rooivalk helicopters to escort the Oryx, especially in medivac cases, to defend against potential threats.

The Ministry of Defense (MoD) and the Commander-in-Chief (CIC) must shoulder the responsibility for the inadequate support provided to our troops, putting their lives at unnecessary risk. The brave soldiers on this mission, through their heroic actions and quick decision-making, managed to land the damaged helicopter at the nearest level 3 hospital to ensure emergency medical treatment for the injured crew.

The DA calls for a thorough investigation into this incident and demands accountability from the MoD and the CIC. Our soldiers deserve the best equipment, support, and protection, and we will not tolerate any compromises that jeopardise their safety and the success of their missions.

The DA demands that our troops be withdrawn if the minimum required support of resources, including strategic equipment such as our Oryx and Rooivalk helicopters, and the necessary logistical support cannot be guaranteed.

Our thoughts are with the injured pilot and crew member, and we wish them a speedy recovery. The DA remains committed to advocating for the security and well-being of our armed forces and will continue to hold those in power accountable for their actions.

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