Constitution backs Zuma’s CAR decision – presidency

2013-04-05 12:46

The presidency has sought to motivate its contention that President Jacob Zuma followed procedure when troops were deployed to the Central African Republic (CAR).

To this end, it referenced several extracts of the Constitution today.

Spokesman Mac Maharaj said that according to the Constitution (Section 201), in subsection two: “Only the president, as head of the national executive, may authorise the employment of the defence force – (a) in cooperation with the police service; (b) in defence of the republic; or (c) in fulfilment of an international obligation.”

Section three reads: “When the defence force is employed for any purpose mentioned in subsection (2), the president must inform Parliament, promptly and in appropriate detail, of – “(a) the reasons for the employment of the defence force; (b) any place where the force is being employed; (c) the number of people involved; and (d) the period for which the force is expected to be employed.”

Section four said: “If Parliament does not sit during the first seven days after the defence force is employed as envisaged in subsection (2), the president must provide the information required in subsection (3) to the appropriate oversight committee.”

Maharaj said: “Parliament was informed of the CAR deployment. Therefore, the public’s right to know was taken into account and will continue to be, but without disclosing military strategies and tactics which would endanger lives and state security.

“We urge the media and commentators to take this fact into account when commenting or reporting on defence matters.”

Thirteen soldiers of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) died and 27 were wounded in an attack by rebel fighters on March 23.

The SANDF troops were sent to the CAR in terms of an agreement between South Africa and then CAR president Francois Bozize.

The soldiers were supposed to have been helping with training, but some reports have suggested they were there to guard business interests.

Bozize fled the country and South Africa is withdrawing its troops.

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