SA pledges R11m for CAR peace

2014-02-01 12:31

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South Africa has pledged more than R11 million and “political support” for peace-keeping efforts in the Central African Republic (CAR).

President Jacob Zuma told an African Union (AU) pledging conference in Addis Ababa this morning that the pledging conference provided African countries “with an opportunity to lend our support to peacekeeping in the CAR and establishing long-term stability”.

The conference followed the AU summit that took place in the Ethiopian capital this week and forms part of the AU’s efforts to get Africans to fund their own solutions to their problems.

“As a continent we are convinced that we should work as a collective to deal with conflict situations in Africa well before opportunistic challenges can present themselves,” he said.

South Africa continues to be a member of the active contact group in the CAR. “We want to put an end to insecurity and loss of lives on the continent. We have done so consciously because we understand the obligation placed on us by the African Union to ensure that regular unconstitutional changes don’t become a regular feature on the continent,” he said.

Zuma also welcomed the decision by the United Nations to deploy troops for 12 months, and the increase of military and police personnel from just over 3 000 to 6 000.

Zuma earlier lashed out at those who committed violence in Africa.

Deviating from his prepared speech, he said: “Those carrying guns, who are making conflict, who are causing harm, they do things they would not have done under normal circumstances. Because they carry guns they feel powerful,” he said.

He also said the perpetrators of violence were often poor themselves and had become used to getting food and money through looting, and not through hard work.

He told the African Solidarity Initiative conference, also held at the AU’s main meeting hall at its headquarters, that violence displaced people and caused perpetrators to have no respect for law and human lives. After the end of the conflict, the people involved found it hard to return to normality, and this often meant a return to more conflict.

» This story was updated after first published to correct the amount pledged

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