The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) said that it was working with the United Nations in probing sexual exploitation allegations that have been levelled against its soldiers based in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
SANDF spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini on Tuesday said that they dispatched its investigation team to the DRC after the UN alerted them.
“Members of the investigation team have been dispatched to the RDC to look into the alleged incidences. We need to identify those who have been accused. The UN said that it’s sending its own investigators. We are doing this together. Once the investigation has been completed,” Dlamini said.
This comes after the UN on Monday announced that it recently received reports of misconduct against South African soldiers who are based in the DRC.
“The UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) has received four allegations of misconduct, including three allegations of sexual exploitation. These allegations involve military peacekeepers from South Africa. According to information at this time, the three allegations of sexual exploitation involve adult victims, one of which includes a paternity and child support claim. These incidents allegedly took place in Sake, Beni and Goma,” Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the United Nations Secretary‑General said.
Dujarric said that the fourth allegation “refers to physical violence inflicted by military peacekeepers on a 17‑year‑old boy in eastern Kasai.”
He also said that the United Nations Population Fund was providing the victims with the support needed.
Previously, South African troops based in the DRC had been accused similar conducts.
“There have been accusations before, but they were never proven. The problem is, these guys get accused, we go there and investigate and the people that are accusing soldiers of wrongdoing, simply disappear,” Dlamini said.