Defence insists wasn't overruled on CAR

2013-03-27 22:15
Jacob Zuma (Picture: GCIS)

Jacob Zuma (Picture: GCIS)

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Johannesburg - The departments of defence and the military rejected claims on Wednesday that President Jacob Zuma had ulterior motives when he deployed troops to the Central African Republic.

"We are perplexed at the ability of [Democratic Alliance defence spokesperson] Mr [David] Maynier to make wild and unsubstantiated claims about the process of deployment together with the rest of the so-called analysts," said department spokesperson Sonwabo Mbananga.

"The Presidential Note for any deployment is developed by the defence force and is processed through the minister after which it is sent to the presidency," he said

On Tuesday, Maynier said reports on the disaster in the CAR, where 13 South African soldiers were killed, showed the need for a parliamentary inquiry.

"In the end, President Jacob Zuma's decision to deploy the SANDF in the CAR - effectively to support President Francois Bozize - has been a complete disaster," said Maynier.

He said Bozize came to power in a military coup a decade ago, his Cabinet was filled with close family members, and his leadership was plagued by corruption, nepotism and authoritarianism.

On Wednesday, DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko called on Zuma to call both houses of Parliament to a joint sitting so he could explain why troops were deployed to the CAR.

Mbananga said claims that the presidency had been advised on terms stated by the opposition were unfounded.

"It must be noted that the minister of defence and military veterans, [the Chief of the] SANDF and the Military Command are not aware of any other advice, as reported in the media," said Mbananga.

He said through organisations like the African Union and United Nations, countries could engage on matters of interest.

"It is also very important to note that there are also trilaterals and bilateral between countries which they can engage in... Such was our agreement with the Central African Republic - a bilateral agreement which has been in existence since 2007."

On Wednesday, the African National Congress defended the government's decision to deploy troops to the CAR.

Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga said the ANC's founding values supported the struggle for a humane, just, equitable, democratic, and free world.

"In particular, the development and prosperity of Africa remains the central objective of the government's international perspective and policy for purposes of advancing the African Renaissance," he said.

- SAPA
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