DA upset by wait for Parliamentary CAR briefing


The chorus of voices wanting explanations for South Africa’s military deployment in the Central African Republic (CAR) and the 13 body bags it resulted in is growing.

The latest addition is Lindiwe Mazibuko, Parliamentary leader of the DA. What has raised her ire is that a briefing has been scheduled exactly a month to the day after soldiers from 1 Parachute Battalion died fighting rebels on the outskirts of the CAR capital, Bangui.

Correspondence from the Office of the Acting Speaker of the National Assembly Nomaindia Mfeketo indicates Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula asked to deliver a statement on the current situation in the CAR. Parliament has scheduled this for April 23.
“This is an affront to our fallen SANDF members and to citizens who expect to see Parliament fulfil its constitutional role of holding the executive to account. It also shows this matter is not being handled with the urgency it deserves and that neither President Zuma nor his Cabinet are willing to take South Africa into their confidence on an issue of national importance which is mired in controversy,” Mazibuko said.

She pointed out Zuma criticised those who have questioned South Africa’s involvement in the CAR during this week’s memorial service for the dead soldiers.
“The service should have focussed on remembering those who lost their lives. When soldiers die on a mission not mandated by either the AU or UN, which is alleged to have been embarked on to defend ANC business interests, a failure to ask tough questions undermines our democracy,” Mazibuko said.

She maintains the President should spend more time providing answers rather than attacking those “trying to get to the bottom of this disaster”.

The official opposition leader has again called for a joint sitting of Parliament and for Speaker Max Sisulu to convene a full Parliamentary inquiry to establish all the facts of the deployment