SA still needs answers about CAR

SANDU says even though the 13 fallen soldiers have been laid to rest the country still needs answers.

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

JOHANNESBURG - With the 13 troops killed in the Central African Republic (CAR) now laid to rest the South African National Defence Union (SANDU) said the country still needs answers.

A total of 12 of 13 soldiers who were killed in combat with rebels in the CAR last month were buried at the weekend.

President Jacob Zuma has come under pressure to explain whose interests the country's soldiers were protecting in the troubled country.

SANDU's Pikkie Greef said that while the 13 soldiers have been laid to rest the dust has not yet settled over the reason for the contentious deployment.

"The nation would really be letting itself down if it simply closed the chapters with these funerals being finalised."

He said while South Africans should respect their fallen soldiers the loss of so many lives should teach the country lessons.

"We owe it to soldiers that when we are going to place their lives in danger we should do so in a constitutional manner."


Meanwhile, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) said it's withdrawing the troops who survived the attack in the CAR, but will not specify when the soldiers will return home.

SANDF said on Sunday that troops pulled from the CAR will not form part of the troops that will be deployed to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on a United Nations (UN) peace keeping mission.

The SANDF declined to give details about the number of soldiers it will deploy to join others, already in the DRC, as part of the UN Security Council mission.

The council this week authorised the deployment of more troops to the DRC to address threats to peace in that country.

"They are not part of the team that is going to DRC," said the SANDF's Xolani Mabanga.

"They are the South African National Defence Force members who were deployed in CAR and are returning back to South Africa as per instruction and guideline."

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has called for President Jacob Zuma to inform parliament about the deployment of troops to the DRC.

The party's David Maynier said the mission in the troubled country is hardly a peacekeeping mission.

"If it's true that the SANDF are being deployed as part of the UN's new specialised intervention brigade in the DRC, then we have to understand that this is not a peacekeeping mission, it is a peace enforcement mission."