The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes President Jacob Zuma's clarification on the cost of employing the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in the Central African Republic.
On 07 January 2013 President Jacob Zuma informed Parliament that the estimated cost of the employment of the SANDF to the Central African Republic, between 02 January 2013 and 31 March 2018, was expected to be R65 million.
The DA claimed at the time that this could not possibly be true and suggested that President Zuma may have misled Parliament about the employment of the defence force in the Central African Republic.
The President has now written to Parliament to "clarify" the position on the SANDF deployment in the Central African Republic.
He has effectively conceded that a mistake was made in estimating the cost of the employment.
In a letter, also dated 07 January 2013, President Zuma states that:
• the cost of the employment for the period 03 January 2013 to 31 March 2013 is estimated to be R65 million; and
• the cost of the employment for the duration of the military assistance operation is estimated to be R21 million per month.
This means that the real cost of the employment is estimated to be R1.26 billion.
We have to get to the bottom of why we are planning to sink R21 million per month - or R1.26 billion over five years - into the Central African Republic.
It makes no sense given SANDF priorities on the border of South Africa and within the South African Development Community.
I have therefore written to Mr Jerome Maake, Chairperson of the Joint Sanding Committee on Defence, requesting that he schedule a special hearing on the deployment of the defence force to the Central African Republic.
David Maynier, Shadow Minister of Defence and Military Veterans