‘Caring SA’ gives R3m in DRC aid

South Africa contributed R3 million to the United Nations’ efforts to alleviate hunger in the Democratic Republic of Congo, International Relations Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim has said.

The UN’s World Food Programme had appealed to South Africa authorities to consider making a financial contribution to its 30 months’ food assistance project in the DRC.

“It is against this background that the South African government, as a caring country, on the principle of Ubuntu, responded positively to WFP’s appeal by contributing an amount of R3 million,” said Ebrahim.

He said the aid was also a symbol of solidarity with the Congolese people.

The WFP project aimed to help 4.2 million people in the DRC, including the internally displaced, by providing food.

The aid was also aimed at combating acute malnutrition, facilitating access to markets and education, and increasing the resilience of severely food insecure communities.

Last month, the SA National Defence Force said the UN had asked South African authorities to send additional artillery to the DRC.

Joint operations chief of the SANDF Lt-Gen Derrick Mgwebi said the UN had yet to pay for the further deployments.

“They have requested a battalion from us and we have given them [the soldiers]. We [also] have three Oryx helicopters already on the ground,” he told reporters in Pretoria.

“When you give them, it speaks to the issues of reimbursement. We said ‘we give you and you reimburse the country’.”

President Jacob Zuma informed Parliament in August that 1 345 soldiers had been deployed to the DRC as part of the UN Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) in the eastern DRC.

The deployment of the FIB followed the passing of a UN resolution in March authorising a force to intervene in cases where negative forces threatened people’s lives and property in the east of the DRC.

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