CAPE TOWN, November 14 – South African Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has congratulated Major Seitebatso Pearl Block on receiving the United Nations Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award.
According to a statement from the ministry of defence, Major Block has been recognised for her dedication and effort as an individual peacekeeper for various projects whilst stationed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The award will be bestowed on Major Block on Wednesday at the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial (UNPKDM) conference in Vancouver, Canada. The conference is the largest gathering of defence ministers dedicated to UN Peacekeeping efforts.
“One cannot but salute Major Block for her hard work and dedication while serving in the DRC. Her commitment to the protection of civilians, especially women and children has been inspiring. As a peace and goodwill ambassador in her own right, she is an epitome of what every member of the SANDF should be. The country is proud of her for flying the South African flag high,” said Minister Mapisa-Nqakula.
According to the statement, Block has been an officer since 2007 and has been deployed twice to the DRC under the auspices of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in that country (Monusco). Her first deployment was in 2010 as an Information Operations Officer. When she was deployed again in 2016, she also served as a Force Intervention Brigade Planner.
Major Block has been hailed for developing a number of strategic projects adopted and launched by Monusco. During her tenure as an Information Operations Officer, she worked closely with different Monusco sections such as Disarmament, Demobilization, Repatriation, Reintegration, Resettlement (DDRRR), UN Mine Action Services (UNMAS), Protection of Civilians (PoC) and Gender & Child Protection. She was also instrumental in the implementation of a project aimed at reaching out and disseminating information to women’s organisations in far-flung areas of the DRC.
Chief of the South African Army, Lieutenant General Lindile Yam will lead the South African delegation attending the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial Conference on behalf of the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans.
– African News Agency (ANA)