The names of the 13 South African soldiers killed in the Central African Republic were released on Tuesday. They were all members of One Parachute Battalion (Parabats) from Bloemfontein. They are:
- Corporal Mokgadi Darius Seakamela;
- Corporal Ntebaleng Andrew Mogorosi;
- Lance Corporal Daniel Sello Molara;
- Lance Corporal Lukas Mohapi Tsheke;
- Rifleman Lesego Maxwell Hertzog;
- Rifleman Zamani Jim Mxhosana;
- Rifleman Xolani Dlamini;
- Rifleman Vusumzi Joseph Ngaleka;
- Rifleman Karabo Edwin Matsheka;
- Rifleman Maleisane Samuel Thulo;
- Rifleman Khomotso Paul Msenga;
- Rifleman Motsamai William Bojane;
- Rifleman Thabiso Anthon Phirimana.
Sapa reports that the bodies of the 13 soldiers were flown to South Africa on Tuesday night.
After pictures of the abandoned base were syndicated by Reuters on Tuesday night, the SANDF declined to comment on the whereabouts of the troops.
|The abandoned South African military base in Bangui.|
Picture: Ange Aboa
Unconfirmed reports said the contingent were at an air base that was being protected by French forces.
The Reuters photos show abandoned structures with Vimbezela logos. Operation Vimbezela has been the official name for South Africa’s military training assistance to the CAR since 2007. (Source: IOL News)
According to an earlier (undated) report in Defence Web, which quoted Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Thabang Makwetla, South Africa responded during March 2007 to a request from the Central African Republic (CAR) to render assistance with training as well as with the refurbishing of some of the training facilities. The South African contingent, known as Operation Vimbezela, comprised primarily training and engineer personnel. At the time only 41 members were involved in the CAR operation.
The deployment of 400 members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to the CAR was authorised by President Zuma on 02 January 2013. A letter from President Zuma dated 07 January 2013, addressed to Max Sisulu, the Speaker of the National Assembly, informed Parliament about the deployment in the CAR.
The DA then questioned Zuma’s reason for the deployment of the defence force - to assist with capacity building of the CAR defence force and to assist with the implementation of the disarmament, demobilization and re-integration process. The DA maintained that there was little opportunity for the defence force to “assist with disarmament, demobilization and reintegration” - not if the situation in the country amounted to a Civil War. The expected cost of the deployment was also questioned. (Source)
At the time 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. Zuma later (on 11 Feb 2013) clarified the cost factor and revealed that the operation was going to cost R21 million per month. In other words, the real cost of the employment, over a planned period of five years, was estimated to be R1.26 BILLION. (Source)
It is now quite obvious that Zuma lied to Parliament, and that his true intentions were aimed at supporting the renegade and human rights violator, François Bozizé, who himself seized power in a coup in 2003. Zuma also sent 200 more troops to the CAR after he was paid a visit by Bozizé.
Not only did Zuma ignore the advice of senior army officers who informed top brass that sending more troops to the CAR was tantamount to a suicide mission, but he also took no notice of the earlier ultimatum the rebels had given Bozizé. The rebels announced that they would not withdraw their fighters unless the government released their prisoners AND… South African soldiers leave the country.
The real culprit in this whole sordid business is thus the useless SANDF Commander-in-Chief, who happens to be Jacob Zuma himself.
RESIGNATION, OR MOTION OF NO CONFIDENCE?
Remember that court application to force a Parliamentary debate on a motion of no confidence in Zuma, which was dismissed by the Western Cape High Court, in November 2012? ANC Chief Whip Mathole Motshekga described the motion as frivolous and without foundation.
Well, maybe now is a good time to call for Zuma’s immediate resignation, or at least the re-implementation of a no-confidence motion, for Zuma certainly has the blood of 13 soldiers on his hands, and I don’t think one can call it “frivolous” and “without foundation”.