The South African National Defense Force (SANDF) says it has built the capacity to deploy its members on peacekeeping missions. The SANDF says it supports the United Nations program to end war and violence by 2063.
The force marks the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers by commemorating soldiers who have been killed in various peacekeeping missions since 2003 in De Brug, Bloemfontein.
The families of 46 fallen soldiers gathered at De Brug military base to honor the heroes and heroines who died while serving under the flag of United Nations peacekeeping missions. The SANDF says their legacy will live on in what they have done for the people of the countries they have served.
So far, 462 soldiers serving in United Nations missions have died promoting peace around the world. The family members could not hold back their tears during the ceremony.
“We appreciate the continued support provided by SANDF. It shows that the deaths of our deceased brothers and sisters are not in vain,” says Aaron Smith, an emotional family representative.
Although the resources are not sufficient, the SANDF affirms that the contribution to the missions of peace is paramount.
The army says it continues to impose peace in parts of northern Mozambique where conflict persists and threatens the stability of the SADC region. SANDF leader General Rudzani Maphwanya said: “Peace in Mozambique will also benefit the region. When we contain the problem there so that it does not permeate and disturb you. People will go about their daily business, but if we sit down, this problem will affect us.
Deputy Defense Minister Thanbang Makwetla echoes the general’s views.
“Situation in Mozambique, the success of our involvement in Mozambique will not only be military. Our deployment is peace enforcement and we want military intervention to bring stability.
South Africa is one of the main countries supporting the United Nations with troops for peacekeeping missions.
“The fact that they are one of the biggest contributors just shows how important they are,” says Masimba Tafirenyika, director of the UN Information Center.
This year’s commemorative theme: “People. Peace. Progress. The Power of Partnerships”.