Bodies of Parabats killed in CAR back in SA

2013-03-26 20:45

Johannesburg - The bodies of 13 soldiers killed by rebels in the Central African Republic arrived in South Africa on Tuesday evening, the military said.

SA National Defence Force (SANDF) spokesperson Brigadier Geneneral Xolani Mabanga said the soldiers' remains had arrived by 20:00 on Tuesday.

He said details of a military receival of mortal remains ceremony would be announced on Wednesday.

The families would then decide whether they wanted military funerals for their loved ones.

Earlier, the SANDF released the names of the 13 soldiers killed in CAR.

It said Corporals Mokgadi Darius Seakamela and Ntebaleng Andrew Mogorosi, and Lance Corporals Daniel Sello Molara and Lukas Mohapi Tsheke were among those killed on Sunday.

The Riflemen killed were: Lesego Maxwell Hertzog, Zamani Jim Mxhosana, Xolani Dlamini, Vusumzi Joseph Ngaleka, Karabo Edwin Matsheka, Khomotso Paul Msenga, Maleisane Samuel Thulo, Motsamai William Bojane, and Thabiso Anthon Phirimana.

All of those killed were members of One Parachute Battalion, from Bloemfontein.

"In addition, the SANDF would like to report that the member who was reported missing in action has been found alive and is in good spirit[s]," the SANDF said in a statement.

Apart from those killed, 27 SANDF members were wounded when more than 200 South African soldiers fought an armed force of about 3 000-strong.

Mabanga said he could not verify rumours that around 40 troops were being held captive by rebels in the CAR.

"We have not heard of that," he said.


Mabanga said on Tuesday morning that the CAR rebels regretted the action which led to the deaths of the South African troops.

"On Sunday morning the leaders of the rebels came to the base, and discussed what happened on the ground, and they regretted exchanging fire with SANDF soldiers," he said.

"Since then, there hasn't been any threatening situation against the SANDF. We are not taking anything lightly and are taking all precautionary measures to ensure SANDF members are safe on the ground."

Mabanga said the SANDF had not received any instructions regarding troop movements, and he could not comment about media reports alleging what happened on the ground.

"We cannot comment on reports by the media based on allegations," he said.

Beeld newspaper reported on Tuesday that beyond the official toll of those injured, killed and missing, six special forces operators were also killed in the fighting.

The newspaper reported that the SANDF had become a target for reportedly helping CAR President Francois Bozize flee the country into the Democratic Republic of Congo.

According to the report, top structures were warned by senior SANDF officers last week that the CAR mission amounted to "suicide".

SA Air Force aircraft were also put on standby on Monday night, although due to financial constraints the Gripens were not armed with weapons with an attack capacity.

SANDF soldiers reportedly struggled on the ground due to a lack of logistics and air support.

Soldiers had to ask French parachutists for essential equipment, with only one doctor present, with a backpack for medical support.

The report also stated that renewed fighting broke out on Monday between SANDF soldiers and rebels.

The Democratic Alliance said on Tuesday that new reports on the "disaster" in CAR showed the need for a parliamentary inquiry.

"The SANDF soldiers evidently acquitted themselves well under fire, in circumstances where they were vastly outnumbered by rebel forces," said DA defence spokesperson David Maynier in a statement.

"But in the end, they appear to have been left dangling, without the necessary military support. We need to get to the bottom of why the SANDF was deployed in the CAR, effectively to support President Francois Bozize."

He said it also needed to be known how the 13 soldiers died in the CAR.

The DA had written to the speaker of the National Assembly Max Sisulu, requesting the establishment of a multi-party ad hoc committee to conduct an inquiry on the SANDF's deployment in CAR.

"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.

  • Ntsebele Gugushe - 2013-03-26 21:06

    how can they arrived without bereaved families present,cause by now we should be knowing which family wants military funeral or not

  • Moipone Senoe - 2013-03-26 21:06

    May ur soul rest in peace Corporal Tsheke, you will forever be missed!!!!

  • Mike Suter - 2013-03-26 21:07

    Welcome home lads . We will not forget them .

  • werner.nel.712 - 2013-03-26 21:10

    Died while protecting foreigners....

  • Clement Mokone - 2013-03-26 21:11

    This shows exactly that our country does not have a capable President.wrong decisions .This is a disgrace. However I hope our people will in the light of these grave and shameful misrule by the president, elect the right leaders next year.

      Dmitri Dumas - 2013-03-26 21:25

      @Clement, I agree with you that a new prez should be elected, but alas, ...

  • Garrick Dunstan - 2013-03-26 21:11

    The Gripens were on standbye but not armed due to financial constraints, oh please that's like taking your holster to a gun fight, useless I say why not ask one of the many beneficiaries of the arms deal for a couple rounds, robbing the very people who put them in power and they don't see it they just keep voting the same, that's why education is suppressed so they will never realise that there are alternative parties to vote for, the anc prefers it that way so they deliberately keep the masses at a low level of education

  • MrG - 2013-03-26 21:19

    What are we doing in any military action with a ill trained non-existing imaginary military force?

      Kelu Lamont - 2013-03-27 11:57

      @Mr your comment seems intelligent but underneath it reveals deep ignorance...these guys were outnumbered on the magnitude of 1:15!!how does that define an 'illtrained' AND'imaginary military force'???please take me through your brand of logic with relation to this story...........

  • Makhosonke Mqikela - 2013-03-26 21:19

    Welcome home, your death is not in vain. You did your part the rest the authorities will deal with.

      Karl van Rooyen - 2013-03-26 21:29

      There was no part neither will it be dealt with

  • Landelani Ntamo Khanyiso - 2013-03-26 21:23

    Zuma i am tired of defending u.....out of all flops u did dis one is unfogiven

      Zukisani Mbalane - 2013-03-26 22:11

      why our president is alwayz on blame?pls mr president pull up your socks, this country is dying in your hands.

  • Mike Jones - 2013-03-26 21:23

    SA in CAR crash with Zuma at the wheel.

  • Wisethee Madimetja - 2013-03-26 21:25

    I think we should have a voting syllabus on all levels of our education system so that peoples can put right peoples in power.

      Kelu Lamont - 2013-03-27 11:58


  • Mahlomabedi Julia Seloane - 2013-03-26 21:42

    Zuma stop waisting time just our SANF members must come home,we dont want more troubles to our people

      Phakama Nabi - 2013-03-26 22:13

      Zuma must stop sending these people coz i dnt think its necessary.... these are family members and bread winners.... May their soul rest in peace. Amaqhawe ezwe lakowethu. hamban imizamo niyifezile

  • Millos Mpofu - 2013-03-26 21:43

    lisotja lifela empini all in all they must rest in peace .kubuhlungu kepha bebasemsebentini wabo

  • Verona Malgas - 2013-03-26 21:51

    Till u guys regroup again may your souls rest in peace and may the Lord strengthen your families to face life without un, I salute u all!

  • Wickus Deysel - 2013-03-26 21:51

    The families of these brave soldiers are in my prayers. You have served your country bravely, and paid the highest price.

  • Frans Mosia - 2013-03-26 22:03

    very said to die like this for a foreign country.RIP soldiers may your families be given explanations for your deaths.

      Charles Kuhn - 2013-03-30 12:57

      Where else do we have troops deployed and what is their mandate?

  • Miguel Capelo - 2013-03-26 22:04

    RIP South African Soldiers. Can anyone confirm / substantiate this report:

  • Mpho Jazman Qokolo - 2013-03-26 22:06

    2 my fellow Paras,RIP wil alwys b rmbered,ALL DA WAY....ALL da waYs 4 our president I thnk he mst stat 2 thnk twice,its either Nkandla mansion or 2 bolster the defence

  • Cheslin White - 2013-03-26 22:11

    “Due to financial constraints”, this is an uteer and complete disgrace. How much more embarassment, humiliation and suffering must this country still suffer at the hands of our “leaders”! Why did these soldiers have to die!

      johan.mostert.967 - 2013-03-27 09:15

      Jip, if there were financial constrains, the troops shouldn't have been there in the first place.

  • Cheslin White - 2013-03-26 22:12

    “Due to financial constraints”, this is an uteer and complete disgrace. How much more embarassment, humiliation and suffering must our country and its people still endure at the hands of our “leaders”! Why did these soldiers have to die!

  • Thandeka Husstla - 2013-03-26 22:13

    may their souls rest in peace.

  • Fezile Russ - 2013-03-26 22:14


  • Sthembile Solgier Gal - 2013-03-26 22:21

    I like 2 send my condolances 2 all families of the Heros ,peacemakers,dreamers i am talkng about soldiers wh lost their lifes in Bangui. AND govermend stl need 2 do more inorder 2 make sure that our brothers,sisters,mothers,fathers,wifes

  • Wisethee Madimetja - 2013-03-26 22:25

    We want the subject for voting in the schools. I'm saying so because every day our country goes down and our heart are in pain and in mind there's question, what next. Soldier me and other patriots we are proud of you and your fighting spirit you made it even though you've been deceived.

  • Sean Potgieter - 2013-03-26 22:25

    Why is our inept government sending our soldiers over there to die when we have enough problems of our own? Look to the madman across the border or the crime epidemic. There are far more pressing concerns for the military to deal with. Also, do not send in a disorganized and poorly supported military force. You are throwing their lives away.

  • Ben Jansen Van Rensburg - 2013-03-26 22:28

    13 of our men paid the ultimate price in a foreign land, our government HAS to support them with adequate supplies and equipment. We cannot play our role in Africa on a shoestring.

  • Steven Boy - 2013-03-26 22:30

    I am glad our boys are back on home soil,may they RIP.There are far too many questions which need answers to! What were our troops doing there?What were they briefed on before going in?IE:did they have any reason to expect what actually happened?What is Mr Bosise track record as president like and why was the situation as volatile as it was?

  • johann.enslin.9 - 2013-03-26 22:33

    Vleisbom forever!

  • Chris Els - 2013-03-26 22:36


  • Carl Lewis - 2013-03-26 22:37

    Where is executive outcomes when you need them – would have sorted this conflict out in a month just like in Sierra Leone – call it what you want – problem solved!

  • Ben Jansen Van Rensburg - 2013-03-26 22:45

    Why are people still bringing race into this? If you are black or white, these are OUR soldiers that fought and died bravely.This is not old SADF vs new SANDF tactics, training , equipment etc, these men need our support so stop being so childish for heaven's sake.

      benjaminmotto - 2013-03-27 05:41

      i aggree with Ben, salute to this sordiers they died fighting very brave they were not running away. REST IN PEACE.

      Ernica Stanford - 2013-03-27 12:11

      I fully agree!

  • Mahlatse Isaac Moroa - 2013-03-26 22:46

    Condolences 2 de families of the fallen heroes, they died with pride. De loss of a service personnel is a loss to the nation. May their soul rest in peace.

  • Simphiwe Spijo Nxumalo - 2013-03-26 22:59

    u r right Ben it's just that some people based on their comments it shows that we still have those elements of comparison even if it is uncalled for from where we r currently standing we r mourning the loss of patriots ...

  • jungleboy - 2013-03-26 23:02

    Interesting. ...40 billion rand arms deal air craft and they cant attack anything because there are financial constraints. ..something is seriously wrong here. Perhaps 13 men would still be alive if the money had been spent correctly? The ANC has some tough questions that need answers.

  • Ferdi Preller - 2013-03-26 23:25

    It is sad that soldiers died in a foreign country so that their own people back home can see what really is going ALL aspects...from the politicians who sign off their lives down to the standards that has suffered due to corruption and wasted money. This might come out very wrong but I think they did not perish in vein, but as heroes-albeit for a total but very different and obvious cause. I salute them!

  • richard.young.1253236 - 2013-03-26 23:51

    @Gripen / Arms Deal A Gripen JAS39 has a combat radius of around 800 km and 1 550 km with external drop tanks (which means it cannot carry a full combat load). From Louis Trichardt to Bangui in the north of the CAR is just on 3 300 km. It's ferry range is only 3 200 km with an external fuel tank. If the Gripen JAS39 could reach Bangui it could do it in 89 minutes. The Gripen was designed for the minuscule operating theatre of Scandinavia. And even there air refuelling is used to get anywhere of interest. The SAAF once had a Boeing 707 capable and licensed for air refuelling, but no more. The SAAF's Cheetah C had a a combat radius of around 1 300 km and 2 000 km with external drop tanks. It's ferry range is around 3 600 km with an external fuel tank. If the Cheetah C could reach Bangui it could do it in 84 minutes. So neither the Gripen nor the Cheetah C would reach Bangui and get back home without refuelling. But the Cheetah C could at least reach Dodoma, waggle its wings and get back home. The Cheetah C might be able to reach Bangui, drop it's bombs on the first overfly and have to land within 300 km. But there aren't many places for that. In any case, in my view the Gripen is a useless piece of expensive dog turd in Southern Africa. The same type thinking commissioned the Arms and the Gripens as this folly into the CAR.

      sterling.ferguson.397 - 2013-03-27 03:13

      You needed the US F-16 and F-18 or maybe better, B-@ bombers.

      mark.barker.370 - 2013-03-27 10:31

      The Gripen deal offered the best kickback - FACT!!

      richard.young.1253236 - 2013-03-27 11:15


  • Lenkamu Trading - 2013-03-27 05:11

    Our brothers and sisters died cause Zuma and his family have interest in minerals in CAR. An enquiry needs to be set up, Zuma must step down. Sick n tired of his corrupt nature. May the soul of the fallen heroes rest in peace, may their families find strength to carry on

  • Annelien Jones - 2013-03-27 05:41

    how can you not know if 40 of your troops are missing and are potentially being held captive by the enemy? haven't they heard of rollcall?

  • Arthur Louw - 2013-03-27 05:46

    RIP soldiers until we re-group. Airborne all the way.

      richard.young.1253236 - 2013-03-27 08:04

      Crazy stuff, retaliation and retribution. Even if you put the whole of 44 Parachute Brigade against these experienced jungle fighters one is risking disaster. At Cassinga in 1978 a light brigade of SADF paratroopers would have been wiped out to the man had it not been for a SAAF Buccaneer and couple of Mirages which held off the attacking Cuban/FAPLA column while another dozen SAAF Puma helicopters extricated the nearly 400 paratroopers in the nick of time from an extremely precarious situation, including the Chief of the Army. With SAAF the SA Army would have been in deep trouble in this instance. Remember too SAAF Puma helicopter164, call sign Hotel Four, in Mozambique in September 1979, killing all 17 airmen and soldiers on board. As well as the USAF CH-47 Chinook helicopter, call sign Extortion 17, in Afghanistan in August 2011, killing all 37 airmen and soldiers as well as one civilian on board. All shot down with a single RPG. History should teach.

  • Tokologo Benji Mohlatlole - 2013-03-27 06:22

    zoomer again,this guy ke stress

  • Thelma Mathe - 2013-03-27 06:37

    You have served the nation with pride and have paid the highest price!! may your soul RIP!! brave fallen soilders hope the SANDF wil explain to the famillies what realy caused this*so SAd*

  • Motsarami Christiaan Mahasha - 2013-03-27 07:44

    My deepest condolences to SA and may their Soul REST IN PEACE!

  • Hlolo Sekhoto - 2013-03-27 07:47

    may their soul RIP.always a para,all de way its tym now tht our goverment take note of wht is the needs for our defence, MR PRESIDENT LOOK UP TO OUR DEFENCE PERSONNEL SO THT THEY CN PROTECT THOSE WHO A ALWAYS CRITECISING OUR ARMY THEY CN C THEIR CAPABILITY.

  • mack.myburgh - 2013-03-27 08:25

    sorry boys...........

  • richard.young.1253236 - 2013-03-27 08:28

    Firstly neither the Gripens nor Cheetah Cs could reach Bangui from South Africa. To deploy the Gripen there would mean establishing a forward air base within the paltry 800 km combat radius of the Gripen, preferably the closer the better to ensure full combat load and maximum responses and loitre times over target while providing air support to the ground troops. But the SAAF definitely does not have the funds to deploy from base, let along establish a forward air base. But what's worse and as the article mentions, but very few seem to appreciate the import thereof, is that the SAAF never acquired the Gripen with any weapons as part of the Arms Deal package. Since acquisition, the SAAF has purchased a handful of air-to-air missiles from Germany specifically for the Soccer World Cup and also a few GPS-guided but otherwise dumb bombs from Raytheon. So even if the SAAF wanted to deploy its Gripens to the CAR, what ordnance would it deliver in support of a Parabats? Diddly squat is the answer. The Gripens were not acquired for combat. The soldiers and the citizens should be asking their leaders how and why this situation has come about.

      Mandy Cox - 2013-03-27 11:19

      Thank you, Dr Young, for bringing something worth reading into this debate. If only .........

      richard.young.1253236 - 2013-03-27 14:22

      Dankie. Raising the level of debate on N24 weblogs is not usually a particular challenge. It also somtimes seems to be a bit of a troll-full zone. But it does get the numbers.

  • jose.d.santos.9041 - 2013-03-27 08:31

    whats the point of having a fighter plane on standby when there is no ammo?? ..due to financial constraints? Really? so the fat cats are even pocketing from here as well .. our defence force has become a joke borrowing supplies from french soldiers.. this means that these soldiers were sent basically empty handed with little or no chance of survival

      Charles Kuhn - 2013-03-30 13:24

      Hey, We couldn't successfully carry out a military operation in Maseru- spitting distance from one of our largest bases. What on earth were we trying to achieve half way up Africa? Embarrassment? If our troops were part of a larger AU or UN force, I would say most unfortunate- but this? Whose Tax dollars are being spent and what for? We're not doing too well defending our own borders against anything- our troops should be killing rhino poachers instead.

  • MeSi Simasiku - 2013-03-27 09:00

    May their dear souls rest in peace...

  • Kay Meso - 2013-03-27 10:44

    Most comments posted on this article are not wrong given the direction our is taking. People are not happy about the state of our country and they must express it. Since he(zuma) ascend to the position of president, Our country is failing on many grounds, be it political/governance,economic,social,cultural and defence had just come add list.The question "what must be done" is of much important like never been before.Pls dont get me wrong (for those couldn't wait to jump into conclusion), for i'm not campaigning. If ANC do not want to suffer what NP had suffered after 1994, it must get rid of its president. It would not lead them there , but it wil be a step in a right direction. Or true citizens of this country will when the ballots is made available for them save it in its hours of need by getting ridding Anc out of government(coz that is where it belong).

  • amanda.matthews.14811 - 2013-03-27 11:20

    So deeply saddened. We have lost soldiers from the best regiment. The Parabats were always regarded as an elite regiment, which is probably why they were chosen for this mission. My sincerest condolences to the families of these brave men.

      Liam O'Kelly - 2013-03-27 11:51

      Irrespective of what the Government does, or fails to do each and every individual soldier that passes selection and is accepted as a Parabat pledges to live by the Code of Honour. It is not theory. 1 Parachute Battalion - Code of Honour. • I am a proud and fully pledged member of this Parachute Battalion. • I am a member of a unit which is second to none in the world. • I promise to serve my country and my nation at all times with pride and loyalty. • I promise to wear the insignia of my unit with pride and distinction and conduct myself at all times as is required of a Paratrooper. • During battle I am first and foremost a Paratrooper and promise to behave as such even if the enemy by far outnumber us. • I pledge the highest sacrifice to my country should it be expected of me. • I believe in myself, I believe in my unit, I believe in my country, and above all I believe in God.

  • Ernica Stanford - 2013-03-27 11:58

    I just hope our guys get a full military funeral. As they do in other countries when they fall in the line of duty.