SA to learn from CAR incident

The army says it will use the deaths of several of its soldiers as a lesson going forward.

SA soldiers carry the bodies of their deceased colleagues. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The chief of the South African army on Thursday said they would learn from their experiences in the Central African Republic where several South African soldiers recently died in combat.

Lieutenant General Vusumuzi Masondo made the commitment in his annual state of the army address at Thaba Tshwane Military Base in Pretoria.

Masondo said a formal debriefing of the Central African Republic incident was underway.

"We've taken heed of the Central African Republic incident and we'll incorporate the lessons learnt from this in preparing forces for our future operations."

He said the army needed considerably more than the R11 billion budget it was allocated so it could meet the high demands.

These demands result in extended deployment beyond international norms.

"Such strain can only be sustained for a limited period where after mission readiness can become compromised."

Despite this, Masondo said the army has had considerable success in its domestic and continental operations.

At least 13 South African soldiers were killed during clashes with the rebels in the Central African Republic in March.

Another soldier later succumbed to his injuries in South Africa.

Several organisations including the South African National Defence Union condemned the deployment.