Is deployment to CAR linked to business deals?

It's being claimed SA soldiers may have been deployed to the CAR as part of business deals.

South African troops patrol on January 10, 2013 a position in Bangui. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - As the families of the 13 soldiers who were killed the Central African Republic (CAR) prepare to lay them to rest questions are being asked about the link between their deployment and business deals being struck in the background.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has also launched an unusual attack on the South African National Defence Union (SANDU), which has been giving some of the soldiers a voice.

The 13 troops were killed in what is said to have been a 13-hour bloody battle against CAR Seleka rebels at weekend.

Their remains are due to be received at a ceremony being held in Pretoria on Thursday.

Focus is shifting towards business deals between South Africa and the CAR held by politically connected companies and individuals.

Pressure is also growing on President Jacob Zuma to explain the deployment to Parliament and to announce what the next step is for the remaining troops.

The SANDF refused to comment on whether reinforcements are being sent. It has also accused SANDU of childish, unpatriotic and ill-informed comments, saying the union is clinging onto apartheid's legacy.

The union fought back by saying the defence force was staggering from one ridiculous comment to the next.

The ceremony for the 13 soldiers will be held at the Waterkloof Airbase in Pretoria while a memorial service is planned for Tuesday next week.