Government Policy: Deployment of the SA National Defence Force soldiers to the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
FOR WRITTEN REPLY
QUESTION NO: 827 (NW1044E)
PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO: 13-2013 OF 26 APRIL 2013
MR LS NGONYAMA (COPE) TO ASK THE MINISTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION:
Whether the deployment of the SA National Defence Force soldiers to the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is in line with the Government’s policy on (a) upholding international peace, (b) the promotion of constitutional democracy and (c) the reverence to parliamentary democracy; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details and policies that drive her department’s foreign policy?
South Africa’s deployment in the Central African Republic (CAR) falls under the bilateral Defence Co-operation (MOU) agreement, signed on 11 February 2007 (Operation Vimbezela). The agreement was founded on the call made by the AU Peace and Security Council in 2006 that all member states should provide support for the socio-economic recovery and the consolidation of peace and stability in the CAR. Measures proposed included among others “Assistance towards the Defence and Security Sector”. The bilateral agreement was renewed by South Africa and the Central African Republic in December 2012. South Africa guided by her foreign policy, which aims to help forge an African continent that is prosperous, peaceful, democratic and united and which contributes to a world that is just and equitable, went into CAR to join the efforts towards realisation of peace: peace that the AU collective through its Constitutive Act agrees that it is a prerequisite for Africa’s socio-economic development.
South Africa’s deployment in the DRC is a long term engagement of the SANDF under the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1279 (1999) to establish the United Nations Organisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC), later changed to the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) through UNSC Resolution 1925 (2010).
On 28 March 2013, United Nations Resolution 2098 was adopted to provide for an Intervention Brigade under the mandate of the current Peacekeeping Force, the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO), to neutralise the threat posed by armed groups in the Eastern Provinces of the DRC and allow for stabilisation and state authority throughout the country. According to the UN Secretary General, this Intervention Brigade should perform like a professional defence force with the capabilities to intervene in threats by rebel forces and protect civilians in coordination with MONUSCO.
South Africa’s participation is informed by the values and pronouncements of our government’s policies, harmonized with the imperatives of the AU’s collective security drawn from the UN and emulated by SADC - (Hence the DRC’s planned Eastern Intervention Brigade).
On 9 October 2007 the Joint Standing Committee on Defence approved the deployment of the South African National Defence Force to the Central African Republic and it was in accordance with the stipulations of the Constitution, Chapter 11, paragraph 201, which require the President to inform the Committee of such a deployment.
South Africa was requested by the United Nations to deploy SANDF troops to MONUC in 2001 which Parliament was informed of, and subsequent regular briefings to Parliament have taken place on the operations of MONUC and later MONUSCO.
In all these processes Parliamentary democracy was respected and adhered to as indicated in the previous question. The modalities of the new Intervention Brigade will be communicated to Parliament upon agreement thereof by African Union member states in October 2013.