Two SANDF soldiers killed in DRC, more will die if Ramaphosa doesn’t stop the deployment of 2900 more

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

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

The DA has learnt with sadness the announcement by the SANDF that 2 of its members lost their lives, and three were injured, when a mortar bomb landed inside one of their bases in the DRC. We extend our sincere condolences to the families of the deceased and wish a speedy recovery to the injured.

The blood of the fallen soldiers falls squarely on Ramaphosa’s hands. Two days ago, we warned him against deploying more troops to the Eastern DRC for the simple reason that the SANDF does not have the capacity to effectively pursue an anti-insurgency campaign against the M23 rebels and neither does it have the prime mission equipment to support the ground forces.

The responsibility to stop further loss of life now rests with Parliament. Although the Constitution explicitly gives the President authority for military deployment, in his capacity as the Commander in Chief, Parliament should not turn a blind eye when he makes decisions that place our sons and daughters in harm’s way. As the primary oversight body, Parliament should take active steps to review the merits of Ramaphosa’s SANDF deployment to the DRC.

What Ramaphosa is doing is sending the SANDF members to their death and the only outcome from this reckless deployment will be more body bags coming back home. It is clear that the M23 rebels, using their familiarity of the territory, are resorting to tactical ambushes of the SANDF to inflict maximum harm on our troops.

Even more troubling is that Ramaphosa is sending our troops to an active war zone unprepared and with limited military hardware to navigate the complex terrain. Without proper air cover as well as transport and air elements, the SANDF troops will find it difficult to operate effectively in the eastern DRC.

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