CAPE TOWN, April 26 (Xinhua) -- Sexual exploitation, abuse and serious misconduct cases against South African peacekeepers will not be tolerated, a cabinet minister said on Thursday.
"South Africa will as usual continue to react swiftly when dealing with such incidences," Communications Minister Nomvula Mokonyane told reporters in Cape Town after a cabinet meeting.
The cabinet was briefed on the report and interventions made on the status of sexual exploitation, abuse and serious misconduct cases against the deployed South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members that support the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the minister said.
While the cabinet was satisfied with interventions made in addressing these abuses, it condemns in the strongest possible terms any form of sexual abuse and acts of misconduct by SANDF members in the mission areas, Mokonyane said.
Five peacekeepers from South Africa face allegations of sexually exploiting women in the DRC, where South Africa deploys around 1,200 soldiers as part of a UN intervention brigade deployed in the strife-torn eastern DRC region.
"Ill-discipline and criminal behavior in the ranks of the SANDF is despised and will not be tolerated," Mokonyane emphasized.
A team was deployed to investigate all the reported allegations, Mokonyane said.
Although some of the cases have been finalized, others are already at the stage of military trials, according to the minister.
All these investigations have been conducted through the military legal process in a transparent and accountable manner, she said.
"Those found to have transgressed will be dealt with through the Code of Conduct and Military Disciplinary Code," Mokonyane said.
The cabinet further supported the finalization of the Military Disciplinary Bill, which seeks to deal with overall discipline in the SANDF, including strengthening the definition of sexual exploitation and the minimum sanction increased to 10 years, said Mokonyane.