DA demands copy of car accord

By Drum Digital
16 April 2013

Questions remain about an accord said to have underpinned the South African troop deployment in the Central African Republic, the DA said on Tuesday.

"The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, does not seem to be able to produce the second memorandum of understanding between South Africa and the CAR, despite confirming that it is a public document," Democratic Alliance defence spokesman David Maynier said.

He said the minister told Parliament's joint standing committee on defence on April 2 that this document, signed in December 2012, was the basis for South Africa's mandate in the CAR, where 13 soldiers died last month in clashes with rebels.

According to the government, it differed from the initial military agreement signed with President Francois Bozize, who has now been ousted, in 2007.

Defence ministry spokesman Sonwabo Mbananga could not immediately be reached for comment.

President Jacob Zuma dispatched more troops to the CAR in January, after informing Parliament that South Africa had to do so to meet its international obligations.

He has since ended the mission after coming under heavy criticism following the fatalities suffered in Bangui, the worst the post-apartheid military has seen.

Maynier challenged Mapisa-Nqakula earlier this month to make the document public. He said last week it was worrying that neither the department of defence, nor that of international relations seemed to a have a record of it.

"There is also no mention of the MOU in the very detailed Defence Secretariat Third Quarterly Performance Report on Performance Against Plan for FY2012/13 over the Period 01 October 2012 to 31 December 2012, which was approved by Dr Sam Gulube, the Secretary of Defence, on 13 February 2013," he added.

Maynier said the report did mention a memorandum of understanding signed with Namibia in November, but made no mention of the CAR at all.

"How is it possible that the signing of a MOU, which would eventually lead to the deployment of more than 200 soldiers, was not included in the report signed by the Secretary of Defence, Dr Sam Gulube, himself?

"One could be forgiven for beginning to wonder whether the December 2012 MOU between South Africa and the CAR really exists"

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