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Statement by President Jacob Zuma on the eve of the hosting of the 5th Brics Summit

Statement by President Jacob Zuma on the eve of the hosting of the 5th Brics Summit

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Published by CityPress
Statement by President Jacob Zuma on the eve of the hosting of the 5th Brics Summit
Statement by President Jacob Zuma on the eve of the hosting of the 5th Brics Summit

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Published by: CityPress on Mar 25, 2013
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03/25/2013

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Statement by President Jacob Zuma on the eve of the hosting of the 5th BricsSummitSefako Makgatho Presidential Guest House, Pretoria25 March 2013Ministers and Deputy Ministers,Members of the Media, Thank you for attending this media briefing ahead of the historic 5
th
BRICS Summitwhich is being held on South African soil for the first time. But before we discussthat important matter, allow me to give a short briefing on the tragedy that hasbefallen our nation, the death of our soldiers in the Central African Republic.On 31 December 2012, I sent Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to theCentral African Republic to assess the security environment and general situation,which was tense after the Seleka Rebel Coalition launched an armed campaign on10 December. The report from that mission recommended an intervention.On the 2
nd
of January 2013 in my capacity as the Commander in Chief of the armedforces, I authorised the employment of up to 400 South African National DefenceForce (SANDF) soldiers to the Central African Republic (CAR), but had sent justabove 200 thus far. The employment was authorised in accordance with theprovisions of section 201 (2) (c) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa,1996. This was in fulfilment of a bilateral cooperation agreement.South Africa and the Central African Republic signed a military cooperationagreement in 2007, which was renewed for a further five years in December 2012.
 
  That agreement was to provide the Central African Republic’s army with an array omilitary training, from infantry, artillery and Special Forces training to logistics anddriving courses, as well as “refurbishment” of military infrastructure in Bouar andBangui.South Africa’s military has also supported the disarmament, demobilization andreintegration (DDR) programmes, and it assisted in Central African Republic’s 2011elections. The employment was also part of our efforts to contribute towards peace andstability in the region.We said then that the SANDF will assist with capacity building of the CAR DefenceForce and help CAR with the planning and implementation of the disarmament,demobilisation and reintegration processes.We went further to urge all parties to immediately cease hostilities, withdraw from thecaptured cities and cease any further advances towards Bangui.As a member of the African Union, South Africa rejects any attempt to seize powerby force, and therefore would support sanctions and other measures against theperpetrators of any unconstitutional change of government.Wherever our troops are deployed they have the duty to defend themselves is theirpositions fall under attack.Accordingly, we are deeply saddened by the events and developments in thatcountry over the past 72 hours which saw violence escalating and many innocentlives lost.We have confirmed that 13 of our brave soldiers, who were committed to fighting forpeace and stability in Africa, fell in Bangui.
 
 One soldier is still not accounted for and they are still looking for him. Twenty seven were wounded. We wish them a speedy recovery. The Chief of theSANDF, General Shoke, will provide further details later today on operationalmatters.On behalf of the Government and the people of South Africa I would like to conveyour sincere condolences to the bereaved families.It is a sad moment for our country during a period when we should be celebrating ourhosting of the BRICS summit for the first time.But we are truly proud of our soldiers. Just over 200 of them fought banditsnumbering more than a 1000 people. They fought a high tempo battle for nine hours defending the South African militarybase, until the bandits raised a white flag and asked for a ceasefire. Our soldiersinflicted heavy casualties among the attacking bandit forces.Our soldiers paid the ultimate price in the service of their country and Africa. Wehonour them for their bravery and commitment to peace. The actions of these bandits will not deter from us our responsibility of working forpeace and stability in Africa and of supporting the prevention of the militaryoverthrow of constitutionally elected governments and thus subverting democracy.We will announce further details in due course regarding how the nation will mournand honour these brave South Africans.Ladies and gentlemen,

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