CAR casualty 'a hero'

Family and friends have gathered to pay their last respects to a paratrooper who died in CAR.

Paratrooper Vusumzi Ngaleka, who was killed in the Central African Republic, is laid to rest in Khayelitsha. Picture: Carmel Loggenberg/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Many Friends and family members of a slain Khayelitsha soldier have packed a local community hall to pay their final respects.

Paratrooper Vusumzi Ngaleka was one of 13 soldiers who were killed in the line of duty in the Central African Republic in March.

Some South African National Defence Force top brass members have described Ngaleka as a hero.

Many of the soldier's friends and relatives are wiping away tears while staring at the young soldier's coffin which is covered with the South African flag.

The choir is singing in between tributes which are giving those addressing the congregation a chance to gather their thoughts.

A fleet of army utility vehicles is outside the community hall which is also crammed with men and women in army uniform.

Meanwhile, other families are also burying their family members throughout the country.

North West Premier Thandi Modise is amongst the guests at Rifleman Karabo Edwin Matsheka's funeral.

The government has refused to answer questions regarding the deployment to that country as President Jacob Zuma says it would compromise national security.

Zuma has since withdrawn the troops from that country following African leaders' decision not to recognise the new rebel government.

At the same time, the South African National Defence Union (Sandu) says South Africans owe it to fallen soldiers to continue asking questions about the mission.