Fallen soldier Sergeant Mbulelo David Ngubane’s mortal remains to be handed to the family

Fallen soldier Sergeant Mbulelo David Ngubane’s mortal remains to be handed to the family. Picture: File

Fallen soldier Sergeant Mbulelo David Ngubane’s mortal remains to be handed to the family. Picture: File

Published Jun 10, 2024


Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise and senior leadership in the SANDF will hand over the mortal remains of Sergeant Mbulelo David Ngubane to the family on Monday.

This follows Ngubane’s tragic death during contact between M23 rebels and SADC forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on May 30.

The ceremony will be held at Air Force Base Waterkloof on Monday afternoon.

On June 6, the SANDF announced the name of Ngubane, who died in the line of duty on May 30 in Sake in the DRC, according to Defence Corporate Communication’s head Siphiwe Dlamini.

Ngubane, 39, the operational medical practitioner in the South African Military Health Service (SAMHS), was shot and killed when the ambulance in which he was tending to injured members was attacked.

The vehicle was clearly marked with large medical symbols on both sides and on top, depicting a medical vehicle. The incident occurred even though the Geneva Convention on Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) clearly stipulates categories of protected persons and objects such as medical personnel, medical transport, in particular, and other establishments of this nature during an armed conflict.

“This act goes against established international norms in the conduct of armed conflict. The details of the memorial service and the funeral will be communicated in due course. Modise, the Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Thabang Makwetla, the Acting Secretary for Defence, Dr Thobekile Gamede, and the Chief of the South African National Defence Force, General Rudzani Maphwanya, express their deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and colleagues for his unfortunate passing,” said Dlamini.

Some South Africans took to social media platform X to bid farewell to the fallen soldier Ngubane, while others criticised Ramaphosa for deploying soldiers to the volatile DRC.

“The family receives remains of Sergeant Mbulelo David Ngubane, soldier you have fought a good fight, Rest in eternal peace,” wrote Cassius Sando.

“Cyril Ramaphosa still has not paid his respect to the family of Sergeant Mbulelo David Ngubane of the SANDF who was ordered to go to DRC and give his life fighting for a nation that has no interest in South Africa,” wrote Diary of a South African.

Ramaphosa extended the deployment of 2 900 SANDF members to the DRC in February this year.

“The employment will cover the period from December 15, 2023 to December 15, 2024 and it was authorised in accordance with the provisions of section 201(2)(c) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.

“The budgeted expenditure to be incurred for the employment amounts to just over R2 billion. This expenditure will not impact provisions for the defence force’s regular maintenance and emergency repairs,” the Presidency said in a media statement.

The DA said the decision by Ramaphosa to deploy 2 900 SANDF members to the eastern DRC was reckless, irrational and must be reversed immediately.

“Without proper air cover as well as transport and air elements, the SANDF troops will find it difficult to operate effectively in the eastern DRC, which is a complex and hostile terrain. Besides, South Africa should not be shouldering a military responsibility that falls squarely with the African Union and the East African Community. We simply do not have that capacity and are definitely out of our depth fighting rebels in a terrain that we are not familiar with,” said Kobus Marais MP, the DA spokesperson on Defence and Military Veterans.

The Star

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