Statement on CAR mission

27 March 2013

The ANC remains committed to its founding values of a struggle for a humane, just, equitable, democratic, and free world. As such, this is what informs our international relations policy and international relations work which is underpinned by a commitment to development, democracy, human rights, peace and security in the world. In particular, the development and prosperity of Africa remains the central objective of the Government’s international perspective and policy for purposes of advancing the African Renaissance. It is in this vein that, as the Majority Party in Parliament, we supported the deployment of forces in the Central African Republic when the President consulted Parliament as required by the law.

The Office of the ANC Chief Whip has noted with regret the political posturing which has occurred in the wake of the unfortunate deaths of thirteen South African soldiers in the Central African Republic. We believe that this is no time to score cheap political points. It must be acknowledged that the SANDF has been deployed in CAR since 2007, following a Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries and which resulted in a SANDF contingent being based in CAR for training and capacity building purposes.

Given the rapidly changing security situation in CAR, and the escalation of violence which saw the 3000 strong rebel force advance and attack about 200 SANDF soldiers, we pay tribute to the brave and courageous heroes who paid the supreme price in the advancement of peace and democracy. We denounce in the strongest terms the military and undemocratic seizure of power and bloodshed by rebels in the CAR.

South Africa`s foreign policy on the continent has always been charecterised by the pursuit of peace and democracy, peaceful resolution of conflicts; and influencing the emergence of a constructive new order on the continent in a positive and significant manner. We have been active in efforts to bring about peace and stability on the continent. The country has engaged in peacekeeping operations and peace-building measures in support of the African Agenda, and has played an important mediation and/or facilitation role in countries such as Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Ethiopia-Eritrea, Côte d`Ivoire, Madagascar and Zimbabwe.

Thus Africa is regarded as the centrepiece of our foreign policy and also, why we regard the African Union as Africa`s premier institution and principal organisation for promoting the continent`s accelerated socio-economic integration, which will lead to greater unity and solidarity between African countries and peoples. Believing in the importance of the AU, South Africa was instrumental in establishing the AU and its organs to realise our vision of an Africa free from poverty and underdevelopment. We also campaigned for one of our best and experienced cadres, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to Chair the AU Commission because we knew that she would work to further build Africa and place our continent on a progressive path of development. We will not turn our backs when our neighbouring countries need our assistance. If we do, we may find that our own nation may be at risk as the instability in our neighbouring countries may well have an adverse effect on our country.

We convey our heartfelt condolences to the families of those soldiers who lost their lives in the line of duty. These brave heroes fought for the noble and selfless cause for peace, democracy and development in Africa.

Issued by the Chief Whip of the Majority Party

Moloto Mothapo 082 370 6940