DA's call to withdraw troops misguided – ANC

The Democratic Alliance's call for all South African troops to be withdrawn from the Central African Republic is misguided and ill-advised, the ANC has said.

"In terms of the Constitution, Parliament can request the withdrawal of troops from international obligation only after a recommendation to the Houses of Parliament has been made by the joint committee on defence," spokesman for the Chief Whip's office, Moloto Mothapo, said in a statement today.

The joint standing committee on defence would meet on Thursday to consider the developments in CAR. The DA could raise its proposal at the meeting.

Any recommendations the committee made could only be dealt with by the Houses of Parliament individually for a decision. According to parliamentary rules decisions cannot be made in joint sittings, the ANC said.

The DA said today it was tabling an urgent parliamentary motion to force President Jacob Zuma to withdraw all South African troops from the CAR.

DA defence spokesman David Maynier said the withdrawal should include troops reportedly sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda in operations linked to the CAR mission.

Thirteen South African soldiers were killed at their base, outside Bangui, on Saturday, March 23, in a fight with rebel forces.

Mothapo said the ANC reiterated its support in Parliament for the troop deployment.

"On January 7, 2013, in a letter addressed to the Speaker of the National Assembly, the President duly informed Parliament of the deployment of troops in CAR as required by the Constitution," he said.

"The letter was subsequently tabled and referred to the joint standing committee on defence as required under parliamentary rules and procedures."

He accused the DA of failing to familiarise itself with the rules.

"The DA's attempt to bypass these rules illustrates that it is more interested in publicity rather than reinforcing and building our democracy through a proper parliamentary oversight," Mothapo said.

"We would like to emphasise that our presence in the CAR is based on a decision of the African Union Peace and Security Council taken in 2005 and reaffirmed in 2006."

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