SANDF rejects claims soldiers surrendered to DRC’s M23 rebels

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has denied claims that two of its members surrendered to M23 rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The SANDF was responding to international reports that the deployment to the DRC was part of an “ill- equipped and ill-prepared” force which surrendered to the M23 rebels this past week.

But the defence force has rubbished the claims.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has also called for the joint standing committee on defence to reconvene to consider what it calls troubling reports of an “operational crisis” unfolding in the DRC deployment.

Defence spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini said in a statement on Wednesday that all SANDF members deployed in the DRC have been accounted for.

He dismissed the international report as unfounded and baseless, saying it’s not the first such report which is an attempt to discredit the defence force “in the most serious light”.

DA member of Parliament Kobus Marais, meanwhile, has also written to the joint standing committee on defence, requesting that they urgently reconvene the committee to consider troubling reports of an operational crisis.

“Parliament should consider recommending the withdrawal of our soldiers if proper support and resources to our soldiers cannot be guaranteed.”

The joint standing committee on defence in its legacy report, meanwhile, recommended that the seventh Parliament should ensure thorough oversight of SANDF deployments and ensure that the SANDF is sufficiently equipped and funded for such missions.


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