South Africa will continue its mediation efforts and peacekeeping operations in Africa, President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday.
In a speech marking the Armed Forces Day in the eastern coastal city of Durban, Zuma said South Africa is committed to its peace-making initiatives in Lesotho, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Burundi, Mozambique, South Sudan, Somalia and Libya.
South African troops play a key role in the country’s foreign policy, anchored on the promotion of peace and security in the continent in order to create conducive conditions for economic development, Zuma said.
South Africa plays its role in the fulfilment of the goal of silencing guns in Africa by 2020, he said.
This goal is set by the African Union (AU).
South Africa has deployed more than 3,000 members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in the interest of contributing to peace and stability in Africa.
Zuma paid tribute to the hard work of the SANDF in the DRC.
“Together with our friends and allies they are standing under the United Nations — Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) against armed rebels in the eastern DRC,” he said.
In other parts of the DRC, where tensions continue to simmer, the SANDF is responding to ensure that peace is maintained so that people and citizens of that country can live in a safe and secure environment, said Zuma.
“We have lost soldiers in some of the peacekeeping missions in the DRC, Central African Republic or the Sudan,” he said.
Zuma also pledged that the SANDF will continue to support and roll out the “Maritime Security Strategy” along the Eastern Seaboard, in the Mozambican channel in order to counter piracy.
“The presence of our troops along the border also helps to curb crime. Members of the SANDF recover illegal weapons, stop illegal migrant crossings and have recovered stolen vehicles, stock and contraband goods and dagga among others,” the president said.
Five years ago, the South African government decided to use the 21st of February each year as Armed Forces Day to celebrate the contribution of the defence force to the consolidation of democracy and peace in the country. Enditem