Home PodcastJulie Alli President Ramaphosa Stands Firm on DRC Deployment Despite Calls for Troop Withdrawal

President Ramaphosa Stands Firm on DRC Deployment Despite Calls for Troop Withdrawal

by Thaabit Kamaar

South Africa – During the past week, two South African soldiers lost their lives, and several others sustained severe injuries in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) due to a mortar bomb incident at a military base. This occurrence has rekindled criticism from experts and political parties regarding the presence of the South African National Defence Forces (SANDF) in the DRC.

Among the critiques, there have been appeals for President Cyril Ramaphosa to withdraw the troops, citing concerns about their safety. Despite the arguments, President Ramaphosa has maintained his stance on deploying nearly 3000 soldiers to the DRC. This collaborative effort aims to combat rebel groups in the Eastern part of the country.

Guy Martin, Editor at DefenceWeb, believes this decision and the adopted approach are misguided. He contends that the deployed troop numbers are inadequate for the challenges in the area, expressing fear that the deployment may lead to further loss of South African lives.

“We’re going about it wrong. We are committing forces which are not enough to make a difference. We’re doing a half job, and I don’t think it will be effective. The bottom line is we will probably see more soldiers killed.”

Criticism from Opposition Parties of Troops in the DRC

The Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have both expressed their disapproval. According to a statement by DA MP Kobus Marais, the decision to deploy this many soldiers is deemed “reckless, irrational, and must be reversed immediately.”

EFF leader Julius Malema raised several concerns, including doubts about the efficiency of the soldiers’ training and whether they were physically and mentally fit for military combat.

Contrary to these concerns, Martin affirmed that the soldiers are well-prepared regarding ability and competency. They undergo extensive training in various forms of warfare, with skilled personnel both domestically and internationally.

“To say the SANDF is poorly trained is quite unfair. Wherever they’re deployed, to the DRC, for example, our troops undergo jungle warfare, and this takes place in South Africa and the DRC. Also, Brazilian soldiers have lots of experience with jungle warfare operations and are responsible for training our soldiers.”

The challenge lies not in the soldiers’ proficiency but in the insufficient financial and military resources and equipment available to the SANDF in the region. These limitations could hinder the effectiveness and utility of the soldiers in supporting and executing campaigns in the DRC and other countries where they are currently engaged.

“Most experts agree that without air support, large troop numbers and other SADC countries coming to the party, the South African mission in the DRC is not going to succeed.”

Nevertheless, President Ramaphosa has assured the South African public that the deployed soldiers are adequately equipped to manage the conflict in the central African country.

Related Videos