Four days after handing over command of the SA National Defence Force’s (SANDF) Joint Operations Division, Lieutenant General Derrick Mgwebi inspected a guard of honour at MONUSCO headquarters where he will be force commander for at least the next 12 months. As commander of the single largest UN mission, Mgwebi has about 20,000 people in his command. This includes military, police and civilian components as well as the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB). This tri-national force made up of Malawian, South African and Tanzanian elements in the first in UN peacekeeping history to be given an objective mandate of using force, if and when necessary, to protect civilians from militia and rebel groups.
His appointment was announced in UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in December and while no timeframe has been specified for his stay in the DRC UN mission commanders usually serve a two-year stint after successful completion of the first year.
Mgwebi’s continental peace support and peacekeeping deployments include Force Commander of the African Mission in Burundi and Force Commander of the UN Mission in Burundi. He replaces Brazilian Lieutenant General Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz.
Indications are he will retire on completion of his UN tour.
Mgwebi’s place at Joint Operations has been taken by Major General Duma Mdutyana. He was previously Chief Director: Operations at Joint Ops and also has a stint as General Officer Commanding (GOC) Joint Operations headquarters on his CV.
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