Media release

Post-SoNA peacekeeping and post conflict reconstruction and development briefing

31 March 2014

31 March 2013

With the advent of democracy after the first democratic elections in 1994, the Department of Defence (DoD), and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) were confronted with the task of the fundamental transformation from the defence organisation of the apartheid military era. The transformation focused on the integration of former combatant forces into one national force, making the DoD representative of the people of South Africa, ensuring transparency in defence management and accountability to civil authority, establishing greater efficiency and aligning defence policy with the Constitution, international law and national culture.

The transformation coincided with a shift in South Africa’s foreign policy outlook. The new foreign policy has been based on the goal of creating a better South Africa and contributing to a better and safer Africa in a better world. 

South Africa is an integral part of the African continent and it cannot be an island of prosperity and stability in a sea of poverty and instability.  Our commitment to the renewal of the African continent, and to the promotion of peace and stability which will lead to sustainable development in Africa is based on the understanding that our national interest is inextricably linked to what happens in our sub-region, SADC, and the continent of Africa in general.

Since 2009, the ICTS cluster has focused on Outcome 11, “Create a Better South Africa and Contribute to a Safer Africa and a Better World”. This Outcome focuses on the outputs related to the Advancement of Regional and Global Peace, Security and Sustainability. The measurable activities of this output relate to both the promotion of regional security and South African representation in multilateral organisations/peace and security forums.

Africa remains at the centre of South African foreign policy, and the growth and success of the South African economy is dependent on enduring peace, stability, economic development and deepened democracy on the continent. We believe that, as an integral part of the African continent, we must develop together with our neighbours on the continent. As a beneficiary of many acts of selfless solidarity in the past, we strongly believe that what we wish for our people should be what we wish for the citizens of our continent and the world.

South Africa remains a significant actor and major contributor in peace keeping operations on the continent and elsewhere in the world. Since 1994 South Africa has played a leading role in regional and continental efforts to maintain and upholding of the rule of law, to assist rebuilding efforts in countries previously in conflict, by providing Training, Peace Keeping, Integration of Statutory and Non-Statutory Forces.

We have continued to render humanitarian support to a number of countries during disasters, as well as electoral support. We also play a role in supporting post-conflict reconstruction and development processes, capacity-building, financial, administrative and technical assistance.

This will mean that the efficacy of SANDF forces deployed in peace missions and general military assistance missions will be measured in terms of having the correct mandate to deploy, are mission ready and mission-trained, and are properly supported and protected by the correct legal instruments and legal framework. This further means that the Defence Force must take active steps to ensure that regional, continental and international peace and security structures are capacitated and strengthened by the appropriate deployments of South Africans into these structures, which may include the SADC Planning Elements, SADC Brigade as part of the African Standby Force, SADC Peace Mission Training Centre, African Union Peace and Security Structures, Military Staff Committee and United Nations Department of Peacekeeping.

The Department of Defence took the lead in developing and implementing a SADC Maritime Security Strategy Action Plan and the conclusion of a Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) between Member States to mitigate the continued threats posed to regional economic and social stability by acts of maritime piracy.

SADC member states agreed to the establishment of regional security architecture first before focusing attention on the creating of an Africa Standby Force at Continental level. Agreement was reached that a regional arms depot in Botswana would be established. The Government of Botswana has made land available for this purpose. The SADC Standby Force standard operational procedure was drafted and agreed to by all member states.

The legal working group met for the first time in three years under the Chairmanship of South Africa. A very important agreement to regulate the Status of Forces deployed within the region for purposes of training, exercises and humanitarian assistance was agreed upon with the exception of one Article that deals with Criminal Jurisdiction. Differences exist between Botswana, South Africa and Zambia on this Article.

20 Years of RSA Contribution to Peace and Stability in the Continent

Since the advent of democracy in 1994, domestic and international expectations have steadily grown regarding a new South African role as a responsible and respected member of the internationally community.

South Africa has taken part in14 peace mission since 1999 - 2014 and its efforts to establish peace and security on the continent have become a key element of our foreign policy. South African troops have served in United Nations and African Union missions in Burundi, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Sudan, Comoros and Liberia among others.


The first deployment was that of a SANDF Colonel as a liaison officer, in September 1999, which was in support of the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, first known as MONUC and now as MONUSCO. Today the SANDF’s presence in the DRC in support of the UN mission (Operation Mistral) consists of three Military Observers, twenty five Staff Officers and a contingent with 1345 personnel including the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB). The formation of Force Intervention Brigade by the UN Resolution 2098 is to neutralise, disarm and prevent expansion all armed groups in the eastern parts of the Congo. This has tilted the balance of power in the Eastern DRC towards MONUSCO and FARDC as result M23 was dislodged and defeated. The Rooivalk Attack Helicopter was for the first time deployed and played a pivotal role in the demise of M23 rebel armed group in the Eastern DRC.


South Africa's second mission, Operation Espresso, commenced in December 2000 after the former Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now the African Union (AU), brokered a cessation of hostilities between Eritrea and Ethiopia, which culminated in the signing of a peace agreement in June 2000. Both Eritrea and Ethiopia requested assistance from the UN, which led to the establishment of the United Nations Mission in Eritrea and Ethiopia (UNMEE) and the Organisation of African Unity Liaison Mission in Eritrea and Ethiopia (OLMEE).

Both these missions were established to monitor compliance with the cessation of hostilities. Under Espresso, SA supplied staff officers and observers to both missions until August 2008 when continued disputes over the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia as well as a number of restrictions from the Eritrean government resulted in UNMEE not being able to execute its mandate.


Under Operation Fibre, South Africa deployed peacekeepers to Burundi on a bilateral basis from October 2001 to April 2003 and again from December 2006 to December 2009; while supporting the AU mission there from May 2003 to May 2004 and the UN force from June 2004 to December 2006. The late Lt General Sipho Binda became the Force Commander of the AU Mission in Burundi when the force was officially established on May 1, 2003.

Lt General Derrick Mgwebi was the first Force Commander for the UN Operation in Burundi (ONUB) when this force was established on June 1, 2004. Following democratic elections in Burundi in 2005 ONUB began to reduce its forces.  As South Africa had been the first country to deploy in support of the peace process in Burundi it was only fitting that the South African Infantry Battalion was the last ONUB unit to withdraw. This withdrawal commenced in phases from December 2006. A VIP Protection Unit remained in Burundi from December 2006 until 2008.


SA has so far assisted the African Union (AU) with securing peace and stability in the Comoros islands five times. Operation Triton took place in support of the AU Mission in Comoros (OMIC) from November 2001 to February 2002. Triton II lasted April to May 2002. Triton III took place March to May 2004, Triton IV supported the AU Mission in the Comoros (AMISEC) March to July 2006, while Triton V did the same June to July 2007.

Triton I was to support OMIC to collect weapons on the island of Anjouan. Five SANDF personnel were deployed with Lieutenant Colonel Charles Payne as OMIC commander. Triton II was to support OMIC oversee the elections held on the three islands that form the Union of the Comoros. Nine SANDF Military Observers and nine SANDF communication technicians consequently deployed. Colonel Bob Gibson was both the Chief Military Observer as well as the OMIC contingent commander. The AU requested South Africa to also contribute observers in support of AMISEC over the period March to May 2004. “This request was later extended to include a SAAF fixed wing aircraft, deployed to render assistance to the SA Police Service training team. This contingent deployed as Operation Triton III.

Operation Triton IV was established during March 2006, when the AU requested South Africa to be lead nation for the latest AMISEC iteration. “This required South Africa to oversee the planning and sustaining of the entire AMISEC force. As a result of the deteriorating security situation in this country South Africa decided to deploy additional personnel - up to battalion size - for 10 days during the elections in June 2006. Following the elections and successful inauguration of the new President of the Union of Comoros, the South African contingent which included rotary and fixed wing aircraft, returned to South Africa during July 2006.

The rendering of general military assistance to the Comoros continued with Operation Triton V, during which a small contingent, comprising a fixed wing aircraft with air- and ground crew members, deployed to the Comoros to assist the SA Police Services and the Department of Foreign Affairs during the elections of the President of the Island of Anjouan, which were held over the period June to July 2007.


Operation Amphibian, from August 2002 to June 2004, supported the UN-South African Third Party Verification Mechanism (TPVM), comprising four South Africans and two officials of the UN, tasked to oversee the withdrawal of Rwandese forces from the DRC. Major General Aaron Ntshinga deployed as part of the secretariat in August 2002.


Operation Sunray – June to September 2003 – saw the SANDF provide assistance to the European Union's Interim Emergency Multinational Force in the DRC deployed to Bunia as Operation Artemis with a UN Charter Chapter VII (peace enforcement) mandate. “Rear Admiral (JG) Dennis Forrest led a small South African planning team - first at the UN Headquarters and then in Paris - during the final planning phase for this deployment. SAAF helicopters and ground personnel were eventually deployed over the period June to September 2003 under Operation Sunray.


Operation Montego supported the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) from October 2003 to January 2005 by providing three staff officers.


The SANDF’s Operation Cordite commenced in July 2004 with the deployment of staff officers and observers to Darfur, Sudan, in support of the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS). “South Africa was soon requested to deploy additional MILOBS and Military Staff Officers to supplement the existing Sudan deployments.  An Infantry Protection Company and an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit would make up the rest of the contingent. The personnel strength of Operation Cordite was subsequently increased in February 2005 with the deployment of additional MILOBS, military staff officers and a protection company.

AMIS was terminated on December 31 2007 and became the first African Union - United Nations hybrid mission when it was replaced by the United Nations African Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) on January 1 2008. The South African contingent remained in Darfur in support of this hybrid mission. The UN requested South Africa to increase the contingent to a standard UN Infantry Battalion-size force during the rotation which took place early in 2008. The current contingent is 805 members strong, with fourteen military observers and ten staff officers also deployed to the Sudan in support of UNAMID.

Operation Cordite made an immense contribution to the successful referendum on the future of Sudan, which resulted in the peaceful division of the country into two: Sudan and South Sudan. Additional South African soldiers were sent to Juba, the capital of the new country, South Sudan, to assist with security for the independence celebrations in July 2011. In addition to this, South Africa also helped secure the air space for the duration of the celebrations.

South Africa also trained police, prison officials and air traffic controllers: currently stationed at Juba International Airport South Africa maintains its presence in Sudan despite the successful cessation because the security situation in Darfur is yet to be stabilised and Sudan and South Sudan are yet to reach In agreement on several issues pertaining to land and assets. South African Ambassador to the United Nations, Baso Sangqu said: “every effort must be employed to ensure that peace and stability is advanced and to help the people of Darfur "move rapidly toward peace”


This operation resulted to the signing of an agreement between Belgium, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa the South African Detachment Assisting with Integration and Training (SADAIT) to the DRC deployed during January 2005 under the name Operation Teutonic. “The primary aim of this deployment was to assist with the Security Sector Reform of the DRC Armed Forces (FARDC) by providing assistance with the identification and registration process. This assistance necessitated the deployment of combined FARDC and SADAIT Identification and Registration teams to various sites across the DRC.

Operation Teutonic was expanded later in 2005 (Teutonic II) with the deployment of additional personnel to the Eastern DRC to facilitate the refurbishing of the “brassage centres” (training centres) at Rumangabo and Nyaleki. The SANDF also became involved with the upgrading of the FARDC Military Hospital, situated at Goma. SANDF personnel involved in these refurbishing operations were deployed along with a fixed wing aircraft and crew from the SAAF. The tasks of Teutonic II were completed in September 2006 and forces returned to South Africa after handing over these refurbished centres to the Congolese.

Teutonic I this operation is now dubbed OP Bulisa (currently 15 members) are still in the DRC, conducting integration of forces. It is however expected that the operation will terminate before the end of 2015.


According to the Pretoria Peace Agreement, signed on 6 April 2005 between the Government of the Ivory Coast and the Forces Nouvelle, South Africa was responsible for deploying personnel to assist with the peace process. South Africa deployed a group of SANDF personnel under Operation Pristine, to assist with the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration (DDR) process in the Ivory Coast.

The SANDF DDR monitors were eventually deployed to 11 DDR sites within the Ivory Coast. Due to the volatile security situation in the north of the country, it was decided not to deploy any DDR monitors to bases in this area. With the election of South Africa as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council during the latter half of 2006 the South African Mediator at the time, President Thabo Mbeki, requested the AU to be relieved of his role as mediator. As a result, Operation Pristine withdrew from the Ivory Coast during December, 2006.


As a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, South Africa was requested to deploy an observer to the United Nations Political Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) during April 2007. “As this was a political mission the SANDF personnel deployed in civilian clothes. This was the SANDF’s first deployment outside the African continent. The operation was terminated on July 31, 2009.”


During March 2007 South Africa responded to a request from the Central African Republic (CAR) to render assistance with training as well as with the refurbishing of some of the training facilities. This South African contingent, Operation Vimbezela, comprised primarily training and engineer personnel. This operation was terminated in 2013.


Following the signing of a ceasefire agreement between the Ugandan Government and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), the AU requested South Africa to deploy two observers, under Operation Bongane, in support of this agreement. These MILOBS deployed during June 2007 and returned to South Africa on July 31, 2009.

South Africa’s endeavour to establish peace, security and stability In Africa remains a key element of her foreign policy. RSA is one of the largest contributors to Peacekeeping Missions on the African continent and we have deployed more than 83 496 men and women of our country as peacekeepers, staff officers and military observers since 1999 up to 2014.

Anti-Piracy Operations     

South Africa also continues to conduct operations along the Mozambique Channel to curb the scourge of piracy and other maritime related crimes. The operation in the Mozambique Channel is conducted in pursuance of the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) Maritime Security Strategy.

Internal Operations

The South African national security focuses on its sovereignty and the related priorities of: territorial integrity; constitutional order; the security and continuance of national institutions; the well-being, prosperity and up-liftment of the people; the growth of the economy; and demonstrable good governance. To this end, the SANDF continues to build capacity for full scale deployment in border safeguarding to reduce the risk of the porosity of the South African borders which negatively impacts on the realisation of the desired developmental state.

In 2013 the SANDF recorded successes during internal deployments which include seizure of weapons, confiscation of precious metals, undocumented persons, confiscation of contrabands, stolen stock recovery, recovery of stolen vehicles and confiscation of dagga. The SANDF has also supported other departments of state such as the SAPS with Operation Rhino/Horizon in the Kruger National Park aimed at the protection of the South African Rhino species against criminal syndicates.

In 2011 the SANDF supplied water to various communities in South Africa. This was as a result of the drought situation in South Africa. During service delivery strikes and subsequent SAPS action in the Madibeng area the SANDF was called in to supply water to three affected communities. A total of 700 000 litres of clean potable water was delivered to the community during Jan 2014.

In 2012 the SANDF was deployed to the Hoedspruit and Lower Nkomati River areas to conduct rescue operations during flash floods in the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces. The SANDF was also deployed in 2012 to the flood stricken Limpopo province to execute Search and Rescue operations. This flood rolled over into Mozambique and the SAAF was deployed with fixed as well as loose wing aircraft to render Humanitarian Assistance to the people of Mozambique.

The South African Police Service has for a long time supported the advancement of South Africa’s position in enhancing security and stability in the region and continent in various organs of the UN, AU and SADC. SAPS has supported the capacity of multilateral organisations by deploying Police Officers to the SADC Planning Element with the first member being deployed in 2006 to establish Police Planning Element and still has Logistic Officer at SADC Organ. Further there are three (3) police officers currently deployed to AU Commission. Other than capacitating AU and SADC; SAPS has been rendering specialised policing services to AU Member States. This among others includes international operations, Reform and restructuring, Deployment   of SAPS members to Peacekeeping and Election Observer Mission as mandated.



Since 1996 the SAPS has been involved in various peace and security international operations and their first operation was conducted in the Republic of Mozambique. This was part of Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration programme coordinated by SADC. The operation was codenamed “Operation Rachel” and it continued until 2008.The SAPS helped Republic of Mozambique Police in the identification, collection and destruction of Small Arms, Light Weapons and Ammunition which were allegedly used during the conflict in Mozambique. There were other Disarmament programmes like Operation ”Manguzi” which covered the Republic of Angola, Lesotho, and Namibia and with these operations SAPS managed to assist Police forces of the above mentioned countries to develop Arms Management Programme which entailed safe storage and final disposition of weapons which were collected. Further in 2011 SAPS deployed 200 police officers to the Republic of Equatorial Guinea for building her security capacity and the safeguarding of African Union Summit

Reform and Restructuring of Police Forces

As part of Post Conflict, Reconstruction and Development Programme, since 2003 and 2013 SAPS has been involved in reforming   and restructuring the Police forces of various AU Member States. It has been involved in training Police Officers of the Government of Angola, Haiti, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and South Sudan in strengthening the capacity of the Police of Government of Sudan (GOS) and   of South Sudan Police Services (SSPS) through advice on policy, planning and legislative development/ as well as training and mentoring in key policing areas; among others including VIP Protection, Crowd Management, and Investigation.


With regard to Peacekeeping missions, SAPS is currently involved in two (2) Peacekeeping Missions in Sudan and South Sudan. It started deploying its first Contingent of 85 Individual Police Officers (IPOs) to the African Union Mission in Sudan, Darfur (AMIS). In December 2007, the government of the Republic of South Africa took a decision to support the United Nations/African Union Mission in Darfur, Sudan (UNAMID) and pledged 235 SAPS individual police officers to be deployed to this Mission.

These members are deployed on rotation basis and currently we have 45 members deployed in the Peace Mission in Sudan, Darfur under the United Nations Security Council Resolution (1769).Since South African Police Service participation in these missions they have been occupying strategic positions and the  Mission Police Commissioner has always been a South African up to date.

Further, SAPS currently has eighteen (18) members deployed to South Sudan under the United Nations Security Council Resolution (1996) for capacity building programme. A request was received for additional thirty two (32) members and will be deployed in June 2014.Deployment to South Sudan was approved by the Cabinet in 2013. In carrying out their peacekeeping mandate the members of South African Police Service focus on the core activities relating to policing needs and their rotation is on an annual basis.

Election Observer Missions

In support of peace and security initiatives within African Union and SADC region, SAPS has been involved in various Elections either as Protection Force, Security Advisors   or as Election Observers. In 2006 SAPS played a vital role as Security Advisors to the DRC Police Force prior, during and after Presidential Elections.

Also, in 2007 SAPS deployed eighty one (81) police Officers to the Union of Comoros with the mandate of assisting the Comorian Security Forces to create a secure and stable environment for the holding of free, fair and transparent elections of the Presidents of the Islands and providing long term assistance to strengthen the capacities of the Comorian Forces and facilitate effective restoration of the authority.

Since 2006 SAPS has been deploying Police as Election Observers under the auspice of SADC with the recent two rounds of elections held in Madagascar.

Regional Early Warning Centre (REWC).

Given the need to anticipate consequences of the ever growing security challenges, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) saw the need to establish a Regional Early Warning System integrating inputs from National Early Warning Centres (NEWCs) and the Regional Early Warning Centre (REWC).

The overall objective of the SADC Regional Early Warning Centre (REWC) is to strengthen the SADC mechanisms for conflict prevention, management and resolution in line with the provisions of the Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation and Strategic Indicative Plan for the Organ.

Some of the main functions of the Regional Early Warning Centre are to:

  • Compile strategic assessment and analysis of data collected at regional level;
  • Share information on major issues posing threat to the security and stability of the region; and
  • Propose ways and means for preventing, combating and managing such threats.

The State Security Agency continued to lead the process of establishing the Regional Early Warning Centre. In addition, the Agency introduced the possibility of collaboration in the field of training through the optimal use of regional intelligence training centres. Furthermore regional collaborative efforts were made to consider the threat of secession in the region as well as information peddling and proposed ways to contain these threats.

The State Security Agency hosted workshops on Illegal Migration and contributed immensely in the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA) Security Assessment process. The regional input was integrated into the continental concept document.


Our nation is blessed with a special calibre of South Africans, soldiers  who have elected to put their lives on the line, so that the African continent and the world can live in conditions of peace. Each one of them is an everyday hero. The country should be proud of  these patriots, and  collectively, as a nation,  we must show pride in their heroism, even during times of challenges and despondency.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have travelled a long way since the days when the sight of our armed forces used to inspire fear amongst the peoples of our neighbouring states. Since 1994 we have transformed the SANDF into a symbol of hope and a defender of defenceless people. Our armed forces are celebrated today for their critical role in stabilising, reconstruction and development of infrastructure and the training of troops in war-torn countries.

The SANDF has since 1994, under the auspices of SADC, the AU and the UN been able to bring hope to people in several African countries. We have brought hope to the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  It is worth noting that when we deployed in the DRC, that country had virtually no infrastructure to talk about.

Specialist elements were sent in such as fire fighters, engineers, and air cargo handlers, the military police as well medical teams who were able to stabilise the situation.  That country's airport in Kinshasa is now one of the busiest in Africa, all because of selfless efforts by our men and women in uniform.

Today countries like Burundi are experiencing a booming economy with investments flooding in owing to peace keeping operations by South Africa.

The Defence Force will become increasingly involved in peacekeeping missions, as we continue to deploy in conflict-ridden countries on our continent. We do so with the conviction that Africa will one day enjoy peace and stability.  Our Armed forces will continue to be a messenger of peace in promotion of democratic rule on the African continent and will assist millions of our brothers and sister on the Continent to rebuild their lives.

South Africans should continue to show support for our men and women in uniform as they continue to display selfless and loyal determination in executing the various tasks in service of this great nation.

Nikelwa Tengimfene
Chief Director: Cluster Communication (ICTS)
Cell: 082 574 5495

Issued by: Government Communication and Information System

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