Eccas urges Zuma to redeploy SA troops to CAR


Leaders from the Economic Community of Central African States have begged President Jacob Zuma to redeploy troops to the Central African Republic.

President Jacob Zuma, Chad's Idriss Deby Itno, Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba and Congo's Denis Sassou Nguesso in N'Djamena during an Economic Community of Central African States summit. (AFP)

International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane told a Pretoria church that the leaders did so at a Central African Republic (CAR) summit in Chad on Thursday, according to the New Age on Monday.

"They were begging us to please come back to the CAR," Nkoana-Mashabane reportedly said at the Tower of Grace Global Leadership Centre on Sunday.

The New Age reported that Zuma was considering whether to return South African National Defence Force troops to the CAR after 13 South African soldiers were killed there last month. An announcement was expected later in the week.

Nkoana-Mashabane reportedly said: "We cannot afford the luxury of saying Africa's problems are not our problems. It is also in our own national interest to have a stable, peaceful and developed Africa."

The Sunday Times quoted the spokesperson for the department of international relations and cooperation, Clayson Monyela, as saying the government was considering the request.

Opposition parties have called for parliamentary scrutiny of the decision.

The Mail & Guardian reported in March that the ANC had business interests in the CAR, questioning the motive of the deployment of South African troops in the country. The assertion was strongly denied by government and the ANC.

Criticism from DA
Opposition parties in Parliament are considering legal action against President Zuma after "an exchange of diplomatic notes" handed to the Democratic Alliance's spokesperson on defence, David Maynier, revealed that Zuma did not give Parliament all the details regarding South African troop deployment to the CAR.

On Friday the M&G reported that the notes given to Maynier by Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, which were an exchange between South Africa and the CAR, showed that Zuma and Mapisa-Nqakula approved a renewed mandate for the "reinforcement of the South African contingent for self-defence, protection of property and saving of human lives in Bangui" in December.

The information given to Parliament, however, was still the same as in the old memorandum of understanding signed in 2007 that expired in February last year. The expanded scope for SANDF personnel was not communicated to Parliament.

Maynier said that if Zuma had provided the real reasons for the extension of the deployment, Parliament could have done its work differently. – Sapa

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