sandf thumb medium90 89Pretoria News writes that the wave of sexual misconduct and abuse claims against deployed troops is a thorn in the side of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).  

This was highlighted during the seventh Accountability Colloquium conference in Pretoria attended by 80 delegates from 30 African nations.  SA co-hosted the conference with USA Africa Command members.  Adjutant-General of the SANDF, Major-General Eric Mnisi, said sexual misconduct by deployed troops, especially in the DRC, had become a huge embarrassment for the humanitarian sector.  “One of the challenges we are facing is sexual exploitation and abuse. This is not necessarily rape, but basically troops having consensual sexual relations with the locals, like in the case of the DRC.  That is forbidden by the UN, but unfortunately our colleagues fall in love with the locals and this compromises the mission at hand,” he explained.  Mnisi added this was of great concern because not only were soldiers sidetracked from and softened in their approach to their mission, but they also left children in those countries.  He expressed the hope that by 2025 the Military Discipline Bill would became law, which would mean that soldiers found guilty of sexual misconduct would be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years.  Currently they go through a disciplinary hearing, and a maximum of two years in prison.  Last year Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula launched a task team to investigate cases of sexual exploitation and abuse in the SANDF.

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