Lekota: CAR deployment was clean

The man who signed the agreement sending SA troops to CAR says the deployment isn’t linked to business.

COPE President Mosioua Lekota was the minister who signed the original agreement to send South African troops to the Central African Republic. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Mosiuoa Lekota, who was the minister who signed the original agreement to send South African troops to the Central African Republic (CAR), on Thursday said the deployment had nothing to do with business interests.

Questions continue to be asked about whether soldiers were sent to the CAR to protect commercial interests of politically-connected companies and individuals.

Thirteen soldiers were killed in what is believed to have been a 13-hour bloody battle with CAR Seleka rebels at the weekend.

Almost 31 other soldiers were wounded.

The remains of those who died will be received during a formal ceremony at the Waterkloof Airbase in Pretoria.

Lekota, the leader of the Congress of the People, said the agreement, which was later renewed, was between the governments of the two nations.

"The issue was about South Africa training the people of the CAR so that they would be able to provide VIP protection for the president and the government members."

Reports suggest the business deals involved diamonds and minerals, and were linked to the African National Congress (ANC).

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.