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Lekota denies CAR report

Former defence minister Mosouia Lekota said he was never in CAR to protect SA’s business interests.

Former defence minister Mosouia Lekota said he was never in CAR to protect SA’s business interests. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Former Defence Minister and Congress of the People (Cope) leader Mosouia Lekota on Wednesday denied claims contained in United States diplomatic cables that he visited the Central African Republic (CAR) in 2006.

The cables allege that Lekota was in the CAR as part of a deal to protect South African-owned assets in the embattled country.

The Pretoria News quoted documents released by WikiLeaks in which US diplomats believed South African soldiers first went to the CAR to protect South African diamond mines.

Thirteen South African soldiers were killed during clashes with rebels in March.

Almost 30 soldiers were injured in the battles.

Lekota said he only visited the CAR as part of a defence agreement.

"I went there to see the establishment of our defence mission that was going to assist in the training of CAR people."