Union slams SANDF on CAR deployment

The SANDU has slammed the SANDF for not equipping SA peacekeeping troops adequately.

Members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in Soweto. Picture: Taurai Maduna/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has been slammed for not properly equipping South African peacekeeping troops in the Central African Republic.

Seleka rebels overran the country's capital, Bangui, causing President Francois Bozize to flee to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Earlier today President Jacob Zuma confirmed 13 troops were killed, while 27 survived but were wounded. One soldier is unaccounted for and is presumed missing.

The South African National Defence Union says the soldiers should not have been in the CAR in the first place.

"Our troops were not equipped and were not sent there with a mandate to engage in conflict," said SANDU national secretary Pikkie Greeff.

Greeff also said the result was that the SANDF troops were "outnumbered, outgunned and trapped in the CAR."

Meanwhile, defence expert Helmut Heitman agrees that South African peacekeeping forces were completely overwhelmed.

"We're short of people, we're short of equipment and particularly short of transport aircraft," remarked Heitman.

He also said the probability of performing a quick extraction or even reinforcing the troops was quite low.

SANDF spokesperson Xolani Mabanga said arrangements are being made to bring the bodies of those killed home.

"What will happen to the bodies of those troops is that all the necessary administration required will be followed to ensure that their mortal remains are returned to the country."

Mabanga also said that measures have been taken to ensure that those who had died will receive the necessary respect.


Meanwhile, the president of the South African Football Association Kirsten Nematandani has told Eyewitness News they will be contacting the Confederation of African Football (CAF) immediately for advice regarding the political situation in the CAR

Bafana Bafana defeated the CAR 2-0 on Saturday in Cape Town and the two teams are due to play their next world cup qualifier in June in the capital Bangui.

Nemtandani said they have already spent time assessing the country ahead of that match.

"We need to begin moving on the matter and we need to be given that clarity."

He said they had already been briefed about where they would be staying and where they would be training.