24 January 2013

South Africa: SANDF Defends Soldiers Deployed to CAR

Photo: IRIN
South African soldiers

Johannesburg — The deployment of SA National Defence Force in the Central African Republic (CAR) is in terms of the bilateral agreement signed between the two countries in 2007, the department of defence said on Thursday.

"This agreement which has been in existence promotes co-operation between the two defence forces on matters related to peace and stability, training, capacity building and exchange of military personnel such as trainees, instructors and observers," said Brigadier general Xolani Mabanga.

He said the SANDF had deployed instructors and equipment to the CAR for training of the members of the defence force of that country.

The agreement was extended for another five years ending in January 2018.

"It is therefore puzzling that since the SANDF deployment in 2007 this mission is being questioned only now when it has been in existence for such a very long time."

Mabanga said the SANDF had sent a support and protection team for the protection of its personnel and equipment, subsequent to the recent changes in the security situation in the Central African Republic.

"This additional deployment is initially anticipated to cost 65 million rands as reported to Parliament. The cost of the additional deployment should not be confused with the projected cost of the agreement that has been extended for five years."

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