News24

SANDF clarifies force composition

2013-04-04 11:41

Johannesburg - The SA National Defence Force decides the composition of forces it deploys, Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga said on Thursday.

"It is left to the military to command the SANDF, no one else," he said.

"The SANDF decides on the composition based on the task at hand."

Specialised soldiers

Mabanga was responding on a report in The Star on Thursday that according to a secret document specialised soldiers were never supposed to be part of the operation in the Central African Republic (CAR).

South Africa's presence in the CAR was for the "promotion of the training of military personnel through the exchange of trainees, instructors, and observers" according to the memorandum of understanding between the two countries, the newspaper reported.

However, Mabanga said people should not "narrow their thinking".

"What if the CAR has specialised forces - do we not train them because it was not specifically mentioned? No we train them. People should not be naive," he said.

"People should try and broaden their understanding of international relations."

SA National Defence Union (Sandu) national secretary Pikkie Greef said he could not comment because he had not seen the document.

"I think it is difficult to say if the deployment of any soldiers to the CAR was unlawful before seeing the memorandum of understanding," said Greef.

"I would like to see the document."

Thirteen South African soldiers were killed and 27 wounded on 23 March when they were attacked by rebel fighters near the CAR's capital Bangui.

 

Comments
  • Hugo Venter - 2013-04-04 11:59

    This entire deployment was illegal as the president failed to fulfill his obligations in terms of section 201(subsection 3) of the constitution. In section 201 it is made law that in terms of defence: 201. Political responsibility 1) A member of the Cabinet must be responsible for defense. 2) Only the President, as head of the national executive, may authorise the employment of the defence force a) ­in co-operation with the police service; b) in defence of the Republic; or c) in fulfilment of an international obligation. 3) 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. 4) 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. The president has repeated shown flagrant and reckless disregard for his constitutional obligations during this fiasco, and even now he still has not informed parliament as required. In the US, president Clinton was impeached for having sexual relations with an adult White House intern. Our president flagrantly disregards and breaks the law and...

      Hugo Venter - 2013-04-04 12:09

      Further, section 201 subsection 3c) means that the president had to notify parliament in advance or immediately following the deployment as to what personnel was to be used at the start. He failed in his obligations repeatedly every time the composition and number of the deployed force was changed in any way. Seems that not the president, nor the minister of defence nor the army commanders are even aware of their constitutional obligations. This is scary!

      Adrien McGuire - 2013-04-04 12:30

      With reference to 2c , zuma is going to claim that it was in fulfilment of an "International obligation" due to the contracts signed by the government. However, as I read it, it should mean fulfilling obligations to international bodies such as the UN . I believe that South Africa has broken all the rules by putting a combat (paratroopers) force on foreign soil without approval of the UN. We are, after all, members of the UN and should abide by the rules ! Impeach Zuma !

      Mohau Chabeli - 2013-04-04 12:31

      I wz busy 'educating' myself with the info that u prvided until u messed up with a false report sayin 'In the US, president Clinton was impeached for having sexual relations with an adult White House intern'.

      Hugo Venter - 2013-04-04 12:44

      Mohau, if you are right, it doesn't detract from the fact that Pres. Zuma broke the law, does it? I think it is time for section 102 subsection 2 because of the presidents and the cabinets' failures here which had lead to the deaths of 13 SA soldiers, none of whom had waived their section 11 rights to life by joining the army. Parliament, irrespective of their political stance, should stand for their obligation to uphold the best interest of the people and the constitution and should therefore by moral obligation pass a motion of no confidence in the presidency in terms of section 102 subsection 2.

      Magda Henning - 2013-04-04 13:15

      The nation should insist for his resignation.

      Hugo Venter - 2013-04-04 13:58

      Oh and Mohau, type "Monica Lewinsky" into your Google and read all about it. You could also type "the Lewinsky scandal" or "Clinton's impeachment".

      Danie Theron - 2013-04-04 14:44

      Hugo Venter, You forgot one critical detail: Zuma said that this (ie what you have aptly stated) is the 'white man's' law...

  • Montsho Jan Seabi - 2013-04-04 12:04

    ...if the purpose was for training,why CAR did not bring their soldiers here !!!

      Kathy Faifer - 2013-04-04 12:34

      Correct. Also why is the word "defence" (AS IN PROTECT) used when describing our military? SA was not being attacked.

      Lesibana Maropola - 2013-04-04 12:37

      Good question. If you want to train to become a doctor u go to varsity the varsity cannot come to you

      Thato Loeto - 2013-04-04 13:40

      Logic has it that if you want to train a defence soldier well it's best you train them in similar conditions he has to defend- SA setting and landscape/ terrain is different to CAR and it was not just about training the soldiers it was also about installing the necessary infrastructure and gadgets for defence

  • kalabafazi - 2013-04-04 12:22

    How about training our soldiers to acceptable levels first. Or spend the money securing our own borders.

      Thato Loeto - 2013-04-04 13:47

      eh* that is being done; the battle in CAR indicated that our force in RSA is beyond competent- only 400 RSA soldiers handling a 3000 strong rebel force and inflicting major casualties (over 600 dead rebels) and forcing the rebels to put up a white flag... with only 13 fatalities and 27 injuries on RSA side...Man SANDF is armed and trained beyond "your acceptable levels".... if I ruled the [media] world I would have highlighted and emphasised this fact*

  • Lesibana Maropola - 2013-04-04 12:33

    Mr Mabanga when JZ returns from Chad he will give you a kick in the a*#s for publicly talking about matters of the defence force. Were you not there at the memorial service? You should wait for the commander in chief before going public, you silly general.

      Thato Loeto - 2013-04-04 13:52

      True that Les; defence force matters should NEVER be made a public matter... we still look silly in the eyes of other nations after the Arms Deal issue made local newspaper headlines and became cheap politicing...

      Hugo Venter - 2013-04-04 14:14

      If it is not made public knowledge then they just carry on stealing. The arms scandal would probably still be going on if it had not leaked into the media. The government should be stripped bare before the people and all lies and secrets must be made known so that we may force the corrupt from government.

      Sean Rossouw - 2013-04-04 15:12

      Wait, do you think the biggest problem with the arms deal was the fact that it was made public?

  • Arthur Salvado - 2013-04-04 12:41

    There should be a trade off. Maybe their police should come train our police. Problem is, many are untrainable , illiterate and criminals. Will training help ? I think not

  • Whowants Toknow - 2013-04-04 12:41

    We were there to train their troops? From 2008? Looking back at the result over the last few weeks,our instructors were doing a pi$$ poor job of training them. If that is a reflection of the training standard within the SANDF I sure hope as hell we never get attacked by anyone.........

      Thato Loeto - 2013-04-04 13:57

      SANDF training is very good if the CAR incident is anything to go by- a small 400 RSA troops faced-off a strong 3000 men rebel force and actualy froced a white flag out of them after killing hundreds of Seleka rebels.... with only 13 fatalities and 27 injuries on RSA side... man we a Good... but not yet ready to take on Iran/ China or Afganistan..

      Whowants Toknow - 2013-04-04 15:14

      Ok Thato let me clarify what I was implying. Remember it was the presidential reserve deployed to CAR. They are supposed to be the best that we have got. They were outgunned and outnumbered due to bad planning. You do not send troops to fight without proper backup. I was actually commenting on the so called training our instructors were performing. Their ability to TRAIN troops. Oh and I was wrong the accord was signed in Feb 2007. Thus 6 years to train CAR troops and Zero results. Makes you think. Either we have the worst instructors in the world or they were not there to train CAR troops.......

      GatwekeengTota Baboneng Ija - 2013-04-04 20:20

      I think people have personalized the issue to an extend of labelling SANDF as incompetent of which is not the case. People are in denial. This can be read over and over again that the SANDF fought a high tempo battle. Their 200 force were outnumbered by 3000 rebel troops but they fought gallantly and defeated the rebels and secured their base, out of which 13 died and 27 injured.Heavy casualties (600 dead rebels)were inflicted on the rebels. It is unfortunate that part of the deal was not to bring a full size battalion with logistics to defend CAR. The deal was to train CAR soldiers and to install necessary military infrastructure for the CAR. If the deal was that SA was to help CAR defend its people and territory, then SANDF would have brought their sophisticated logistics to man and offer military support, but unfortunately it was not part of the deal. Stop posting negative comments about SANDF when you have no idea what its force is capable of doing.

      Thato Loeto - 2013-04-05 10:33

      Thank you GatwekeengTota Baboneng Ija

  • Tony Fourie - 2013-04-04 12:57

    Our army is a joke!!!! I did my miltary service 83 and 1984. When the old SADF was still a army, and rated one of the best bush fighters in the world those days! Still recon, we were the best! More body counts to be added from our side soon. No experience, lack of training and lack of interest, will be against us!!!!!! I am proud that I was part of the old SADF elite army those days!

      Mandisa Penny Majola - 2013-04-04 15:08

      So wot has caused a difference from the then and the now just to be precise Tony?

      GatwekeengTota Baboneng Ija - 2013-04-05 23:44

      Well unfortunately, we have heard that one before. The same old cry of when we were the best in bush war or " we were rated one of the best bush fighters in the world those days". You have to understand one thing. There are regulations and protocols that need to be observed when another country make an agreement. SA's agreement was not to bring a size-able battalion and logistics and equipments to defend or offer military offensive against any unforeseeable threat.It was the responsibility of the CAR'S army to have manned its defense, but unfortunately our highly trained 200 men encountered heavy attacks of which you are in denial, were fended off (mind you it was 200 against 3000). 13 died from SANDF and more than 600 from the rebel died. That's a catastrophic defeat of the enemy of which you don't want to acknowledge (you're definitely in denial) but keep on praising the old and gone SADF. What we should be concentrating on right now is to send condolences to the family of the fallen heroes who fought gallantly against the many. Of course yes,,,we all want to know about events that led to the battle and why proper logistics were not sent instead of labeling SANDF as a joke.Its not about incompetence, its about how the non anticipated situation was handled and how it spiraled into criticism

  • Nic Becker - 2013-04-04 16:03

    why use paratroop soldiers as instructors. THINK THERES NO AIRCRAFT IN CAR?

      Tony Fourie - 2013-04-04 16:35

      Nic, this is such a joke! We will get our asses kicked. Can imagine if this went down, the body count and equipment on our side that would of been lost?

  • GatwekeengTota Baboneng Ija - 2013-04-04 20:21

    I think people have personalized the issue to an extend of labelling SANDF as incompetent of which is not the case. People are in denial. This can be read over and over again that the SANDF fought a high tempo battle. Their 200 force were outnumbered by 3000 rebel troops but they fought gallantly and defeated the rebels and secured their base, out of which 13 died and 27 injured.Heavy casualties (600 dead rebels)were inflicted on the rebels. It is unfortunate that part of the deal was not to bring a full size battalion with logistics to defend CAR. The deal was to train CAR soldiers and to install necessary military infrastructure for the CAR. If the deal was that SA was to help CAR defend its people and territory, then SANDF would have brought their sophisticated logistics to man and offer military support, but unfortunately it was not part of the deal. Stop posting negative comments about SANDF when you have no idea what its force is capable of doing.

  • Themba Sindie - 2013-04-05 07:46

    Wat d hell happened 2 doz ppl yu were training,,,did they assist yu wen yu were attacked,,BIG NO,,enough wth yo escuse

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