SANDF makes travel plans for soldiers' families

The families of the soldiers who were killed in the CAR will attend a memorial service in Pretoria tomorrow.

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

PRETORIA - The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) said it will spend Monday making travel arrangements for the families of the soldiers who died in the Central African Republic (CAR) ahead of a memorial service planned for Tuesday.

Thirteen soldiers were killed in a battle with rebels in the CAR last week.

Almost 30 others were wounded.

Questions continued to be asked about the deployment, with reports emerging last week that child soldiers might have been used in the battle against South African forces.

The SANDF said the memorial service will not include any military ceremonies.

The defence force's spokesperson Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga said arrangements were made so all families could attend.

"We'll be transporting family members for those who stay out of Gauteng and accommodate them."

Mabanga said 10 soldiers remain in hospital.

Others were treated and discharged.

The SANDF is still waiting for political orders on their next step in the CAR.

President Jacob Zuma is due to attend an emergency meeting in Chad to discuss the political situation in the CAR.

DA DEMANDS ANSWERS FROM ZUMA

The Democratic Alliance (DA) will be table an urgent parliamentary resolution to force Zuma to bring South African troops back from the CAR.

In January Zuma said that soldiers were deployed to assist with the capacity building of the CAR defence force.

But DA leader Helen Zille said there is mounting evidence that there was no valid reason to deploy them.

"What makes the intervention even more disturbing is that the deployment was reportedly undertaking against military advice allegedly to protect business interests of the political elite in South Africa and in the CAR."

DA Parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko said a letter will be sent to National Assembly Speaker Max Sisulu on Monday.

"Because Parliament is currently in recess, the DA will submit this resolution to parliament to the speaker Max Sisulu. We urge him to convene a sitting in parliament to allow for this resolution to be tabled."