DA tables motion for CAR withdrawal

2013-04-01 13:26
The mayors said taxpayers had already spent large amounts of money in maintaining the province's roads. (Picture: Sapa)

The mayors said taxpayers had already spent large amounts of money in maintaining the province's roads. (Picture: Sapa)

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Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance said on Monday it was tabling an urgent parliamentary motion to force President Jacob Zuma to withdraw all South African troops from the Central African Republic.

DA defence spokesperson David Maynier told a media briefing in Cape Town this should include troops reportedly sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda in operations linked to the CAR mission, which has claimed the lives of 13 South African soldiers.

DA leader Helen Zille said the manner in which the troops were deployed and the motivation for the mission needed to be exposed because both pointed to a political scandal.

"The conclusion is inescapable that the South African troops were deployed to defend the faltering and dictatorial Bozize regime."

'Political party business interests'

Zille noted that the government had failed to refute reports that the ANC investment front Chancellor House had business interests in the CAR.

She said: "If that is what is happening, we would have a president who deploys troops to defend political party business interests.

"That should bring the government down even in our democracy."

The opposition party said it would appeal to Speaker Max Sisulu to recall the legislature during recess to hear the motion no later than next week.

"Given the continued controversy surrounding the deployment, the lack of a clear mandate for our troops to remain in the CAR, the continued risk to the soldiers' safety and rumours that the SANDF is considering a 'revenge' mission into the CAR, we believe the entire SANDF presence should be withdrawn immediately."

Zille said the president had kept Parliament and the nation in the dark about the deployment, and if there had been a cover-up, it would be untenable that he remained in power and in command of the armed forces.

Government has maintained that the presence of 400 troops in the CAR was covered by a bilateral defence accord with President Francois Bozize dating back to 2007.

'Null and void'

But the fatalities have put the presidency and defence ministry under pressure to shed more light on the mission.

The soldiers were killed last weekend as they fought alongside government troops against rebels trying to oust Bozize, who has since fled the country.

Maynier said the defence accord, which was reportedly extended to 2018, was "null and void" if the CAR government was no longer in power.

Zuma is set to attend an extraordinary summit of the 10-nation Economic Community of Central African States in N'Djamena on Wednesday.

- SAPA
Read more on:    da  |  sandf  |  francois bozize  |  david maynier  |  helen zille  |  jacob zuma  |  max sisulu  |  central african republic  |  car uprisings
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