Zuma didn't get OK for CAR mission - Lekota

2013-04-03 15:31
Mosiuoa Lekota (Picture: Sapa)

Mosiuoa Lekota (Picture: Sapa)

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Memorial service for fallen soldiers

2013-04-03 08:14

Family members of the South African soldiers who were killed in the Central African Republic attended a memorial service at Swartkop Air Force Base in Pretoria on Tuesday. Watch.WATCH

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma has breached his constitutional obligation by sending troops to the Central African Republic, the Congress of the People (Cope) said on Wednesday.

Party leader Mosiuoa Lekota said Zuma was supposed to request a parliamentary approval to send troops to the CAR.

"As matters now stand he appears to have breached his constitutional obligation."

Lekota said Zuma had no right to deploy soldiers on a mission to disarm and demilitarise citizens of a foreign country.

Thirteen soldiers were killed and 27 injured on Saturday 23 March in a clash with Seleka rebel fighters outside the capital Bangui.

"We insist that constitutionally South Africans have the right to get a full explanation about what our young men in uniform were doing in [the] CAR and why 13 of them had to sacrifice their lives."

Zuma has insisted troops were sent to the CAR in terms of an agreement signed in 2007, in which South Africa was to train the CAR army.

Another 200 soldiers were deployed late in 2012 when security deteriorated in the CAR to protect trainers and South African military assets already in the CAR.

At a memorial service for the slain soldiers on Tuesday, Zuma said no country discussed its military strategy in public.

"No country discusses its military strategy in public in the manner in which South Africa is expected to do in this country.

"Those who are engaging in this game should be careful not to endanger both the national interest and the security of the republic while pursuing party political goals."

- SAPA
Read more on:    cope  |  jacob zuma  |  mosiuoa lekota  |  central african republic  |  car uprisings  |  politics  |  military
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