UNITED NATIONS– South Africa has welcomed the decisio of the United Nations Security Council to renew the mandate of the UN’s peace-keeping mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the strong focus on holding free and credible elections in that country before the end of the year.

The Council unanimously adopted a resolution Tuesday to extend the mandate of the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) for one year while emphasizing the supporting role Monusco will play in the lead-up and during elections due to be held in December.

It’s a mission which could support the first peaceful transfer of power in the DRC’s history. MONUSCO, which includes a contingent of 1,200 South African soldiers, has a a focus on protecting civilians and neutralizing negative forces, while emphasizing the upholding of human rights in the country.

South Africa’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Jerry Matjila, said it was a good development. It a very good development because what the UN had done, what the Security Council has done is to say to the UN as a whole, let’s focus on the issue which is 23rd of December, when the general election is to be held in the DRC,” he said.

“So, for the first time ever, we see such a huge global mobilization of the UN, all its parts, in terms of Monusco, in terms of political issues, in terms of logistics, in terms of ensuring that we’ll have inclusive, transparent elections in the DRC.

Supporting the electoral process is at the heart of the mandate renewal, as the US Permanent Represntative, Amy Tachco, explained. By streamlining the number of non-priority tasks and directing the mission to allocate resources, according to the remaining tasks, we have made clear that the mission and the Council will work to fulfill our common purpose of elections,” she said.

“After all, without free, open and credible elections in December 2018, everything else Monusco sets out to do will be complicated by political unrest and the spectre of violence.