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ANC slams M&G for 'pissing on troops graves'

The ANC says the M&G wrote ‘malicious and damaging’ reports on the CAR deployment.

SANDF soldiers carry the bodies of their colleagues killed in the Central African Republic on 24 March 2013. Picture: Alex Eliseev/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The ANC launched a blistering attack to defend the Central African Republic deployment, accusing journalists of "pissing on the graves of gallant fighters".

Thirteen soldiers died in a battle against rebels just over a week ago, while 30 others were wounded.

A memorial service is due to be held for the fallen troops on Tuesday in Pretoria.

President Jacob Zuma is expected to attend the service.

The ANC reacted with anger to reports in the Mail & Guardian that private business deals might lie at the heart of the CAR deployment.

The party said it has no business links in the CAR, and it slammed the reports as "damaging and malicious lies".

The ruling party's spokesperson Keith Khoza insisted the ANC has no business interests in that country.

"[The Mail & Guardian] is trying to define their presence in wrong terms."

The ANC said it was considering taking legal action over the reports.

Mail & Guardian editor Nic Dawes said not questioning why South African soldiers died in some distant civil war would amount to betraying the honour of the troops.

Khoza said they stood by their scathing statement.

"The [South African National Defence Force] was not trying to defend business interests. [The Mail & Guardian] is trying to ridicule their efforts."