C J POS Briefs Media on Deployments
By: Cpl Itumeleng Makhubela
The SANDF is currently deployed in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Operation MISTRAL, Sudan on Operation CORDIRTE, the Mozambican channel on Operation Copper and an internal deployment in the form of Operation CORONA, said Chief of Joint Operations Lt Gen Derrick Mgwebi during his briefing at Swartkop Park in Pretoria on 28 November 2012.
He said that the 121 SAI BN is deployed in the DRC north of Kivu Province with the responsibility of protecting civilians against armed groupings that harass local population. The battalion with strength of 1244 members took over from 2 SAI BN that left the mission area on 07 November 2012.
10 SAI BN is also deployed in SUDAN and it will be relieved by 21 SAI BN that is undergoing mobilisation process. Their strength is 798 in Bloemfontein at the mobilisation centre. He said 10 SAI BN conducts patrols and escort duties as per tasking from the sector headquarters.
Internally, the SANDF is involved in a number of operations, which include border safeguarding (Operation CORONA), disaster support and humanitarian assistance, (Operation CHARIOT) safety and security (Operation PROSPER) and Operation PHEFO (African Cup Of Nations)
Lt Gen Mgwebi explained that the battalion in Kivu also has an engineering component, which is constructing roads in the area. It also has Oryx helicopters and cargo handlers available. He mentioned Bukavu would be used for flying in supplies due to the volatile conditions in the Goma Airport.
Lt Gen Mgwebi said recent casualties suffered by the SANDF were as a result of the indirect firing from a conflict between the rebels DRC armed forces. In Sudan, he maintained that the fatality came from unanticipated ambush attack from a militant group on their way to kutum.
The role of the SANDF in these UN missions is to keep peace, secure property and protect the local population. Lt Gen Mgwebi said they are also tasked to ensure the safety of its personnel and are expected to support government force.