Lindsay Dentlinger29 February 2024 | 5:53

Modise expresses regret for deaths of SA soldiers in DRC: ‘We mourn our children’s passing’

Two SANDF soldiers were killed in a mortar attack at their base in the eastern DRC two weeks ago.

Modise expresses regret for deaths of SA soldiers in DRC: ‘We mourn our children’s passing’

Defence Minister Thandi Modise at a media briefing on 25 October 2021. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Minister of Defence Thandi Modise has expressed deep regret for the recent deaths of South African soldiers who were fighting rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Two South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers were killed, and three others were wounded in a mortar strike earlier in February in the eastern city of Goma.


- SANDF announces funeral arrangements for soldiers killed in DRC

- Modise says SANDF troops will continue to fight for peace in DRC

- Removal of SANDF from DRC would signal cowardice, says Defence Minister

They were deployed to the DRC as part of a Southern African Development Community (SADC) mission tasked with helping the DRC government forces fight M23 rebels.

While answering questions in the National Assembly on Wednesday, Modise refuted claims from opposition parties that the military’s equipment was not up to the task of assisting in foreign missions.

The defence minister said the reported poor state of the army’s equipment couldn’t be blamed on its mission in the DRC.

Earlier in February, a South African Air Force Oryx helicopter was shot down in the area.

“My job is to ensure that those kids are given the wherewithal to do what they need to do, that they are looked after. We are making sure they get what they need in this deployment to do their job.”

Modise said assisting in foreign missions was never to risk lives.

“Do we regret that we have sent our people there? No, we don’t. Do we regret the loss of life? We mourn the passing of our children.”

Modise said it was untrue that the South African Air Force’s aircraft were not fixable and that this would be done as soon as money was made available.