Lekota rejects blame from SA troops in CAR

Former Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota says he is not accountable for decisions made on CAR.

Mosiuoa Lekota says he cannot be held accountable for any decisions made relating to the CAR.

CAPE TOWN - Congress of the People (Cope) President Mosiuoa Lekota said on Friday he can in no way be held responsible for South Africa's protracted military presence in the Central African Republic (CAR).

Lekota was initially involved in South Africa entering into a memorandum of understanding with the CAR causing SANDF members to be deployed there in 2007 while he was still the Defence Minister.

Lekota and other Members of Parliament (MPs) grilled Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and military top brass on Thursday on events which led to the death of 13 South African soldiers in the CAR last month.

The soldiers were killed when the rebels took over the CAR including its national and local radio and TV stations, causing its President to flee.

Lekota said he cannot be accused of anything sinister.

"I should not be made part-witness with what happened in CAR. I cannot be held responsible."

Democratic Alliance (DA) MP David Maynier said President Jacob Zuma misled parliament about the mission.

He said Zuma initially told parliament the total cost of the latest CAR mission was R65 million.

"In the letter that was then sent to parliament clarifying the situation the president conceded that the expected cost would be R21 million a month, which over five years would be R1,2 billion."

Meanwhile, Mapisa-Nqakula conceded the South African military had little to no intelligence which could have helped prepare soldiers who were attacked by rebels in the CAR.