The African National Congress welcomes the government decision to withdraw the South African troops from the Central African Republic. It compliments the resolution of the Extra-ordinary summit of the Economic Community of East African States which upheld the decision of the African Union (AU) not to recognize the self imposed government following the removal of President Francois Bozize through unconstitutional means.
We also applaud the decision of the extraordinary summit that a Committee of organisations in CAR be established to run the country and prepare for democratic elections within 18 months.
We note with concern the attempts by some opposition elements to ridicule our foreign policy and reduce it to advancing personal interest despite the fact that the matter to deploy our military in CAR, based on the bilateral agreement with the government of CAR in 2007, was tabled in parliament and reasons furnished for the intended deployment.
President Jacob Zuma is also on record explaining to South Africans that our troops went to CAR to assist build the military capacity of their army through training, and to protect our personnel and military assets that was being used to train CAR Defence force.
The tragedy that befell our troops in CAR must be understood to have been an act of deliberate and unwarranted aggression and an attempt to run over our base by the Seleka rebels that regrettable led to loss of lives on both sides. We commend the government for having been resolute in implementing the foreign policy of our country based on what the Freedom Charter directs us and as well as implementing the collective decisions of the, ECEAS and African Union.
We reiterate the statement made by President Zuma that our troops died defending our commitment to the renewal of the African continent, and for our efforts to promote peace and stability which would lead to sustainable development in Africa and a better life for all.