The Democratic Alliance welcomes the deployment of Southern African Development Community (SADC) troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
It is essential that South Africa, in collaboration with its neighbours, does whatever it can to assist the plight of other SADC nations in particular, such as the troubled eastern DRC.
The SADC force will play a significant role in the region as they are not only tasked with peace-keeping, but have also been permitted to enforce peace when necessary.
While we welcome the deployment, which will involve about 4 000 troops, there are questions that need to be clarified:
• Is there an exit strategy in place that takes into consideration the nature of the mission and the relatively volatile climate and terrain in the DRC?
• Do our troops have the capacity and resources to fulfill this proactive role?
• For what period of time will the troops be deployed to the DRC?
• What is the financial cost of deploying South African troops to engage in this operation?
I will be drafting parliamentary questions to Minister of International Relations & Co-Operation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane and Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to gain clarity on the operation and the funding thereof.
While we should be looking to assist other African countries, we need to ensure that the safety of our troops and the efficient use of state funds are a priority.
Ian Davidson, Shadow Minister of International Relations and Cooperation