Pretoria – Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula will on Monday attend the 2017 International Day of UN Peacekeepers in Bloemfontein.
The Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans said the Minister will attend the event to honour and pay tribute to South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members, who died while serving under the United Nations (UN) flag.
“South Africa is revered for being a major contributor to the United Nations and African Union peacekeeping mission efforts, with annual contributions constantly fluctuating between 1 500 and 2 500 members.
“Subsequently, since September 2003 until December 2016, a total number of 39 SANDF members have lost their lives while serving the UN,” the ministry said.
The General Assembly, in its resolution 57/129, officially declared 29 May as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers.
The Ministry said this is a day set aside to “pay tribute to the professionalism, dedication and courage of all the men and women serving in UN peacekeeping operations, and honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace”.
The commemoration will coincide with the next rotation of SANDF troops deployed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as part of the UN Force Intervention Brigade.
Minister Mapisa-Nqakula will lead a wreath-laying ceremony in honour of the 39 fallen heroes of the SANDF. She will be joined by the top leadership of the Ministry of Defence, SANDF and Military Veterans.