Open letter to Secretary General of the United Nations regarding international investigation needed: South Africa’s relationship with the Central African Republic and the protection of South African national assets from Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP (UDM President) (28 March 2013)
The abovementioned matter has reference.
I write on behalf of the United Democratic Movement (UDM), an opposition party in the parliament of the Republic of South Africa (RSA) (www.udm.org.za).
The current situation with South Africa’s military presence in the Central African Republic (CAR) has caused some embarrassment for our country, when a number of our military personnel lost their lives to protect so-called South African assets, amongst others.
The South African National Defence Force’s (SANDF) presence in the CAR was justified by our government saying that it was honouring an agreement, reached in 2007, to protect President François Bozizé, and to train military personnel in that country.
What has now come to light, after this tragic loss of life, is that South Africa’s presence in the CAR was not only to protect President Bozizé and to train personnel. In fact, there seems to be a generally corrupt relationship emerging between South Africa and President Bozizé’s regime.
South Africans were deceived about the nature of this relationship and the reason for our troops being sent to the CAR. To this day, our government refuses to take the nation in confidence and explain in unambiguous terms what the nature of this relationship is and which South African assets were to be protected.
Today’s Mail & Guardian, a South African newspaper, has revealed that (as early as April 2006) a co-operation agreement was signed between the RSA and the CAR in the defence, minerals and energy sectors (http://mg.co.za/article/2013-03-28-00-central-african-republic-is-this-what-our-soldiers-died-for).
Given that South Africa is a member of the UN and as such, there is the potential that this situation will negatively affect our future participation in peacekeeping missions, we appeal to the UN to institute a commission of inquiry.
We suggest that such an inquiry should have wide terms of reference, where all countries involved must explain what the true state of affairs is. The pertinent questions:
a. What were the reasons for South Africa to enter into a cooperation agreement with the CAR in 2006/7?
b. What were the reasons for the five-year extension of the agreement in December 2012?
c. What are the details of the South African assets that needed protection?
d. Are there any documents conferring mineral rights to South Africa and its businesspersons?
e. Does South Africa still own those mineral rights and if not, to whom were they sold and for how much?
f. Who benefitted from the proceeds of such transactions if any i.e. South African National Treasury, individuals and/or political parties?
g. Was there any collaboration between South Africa, the UN and the African Union with this mission?
h. Was there an entry-and-exit strategy for the South African troops?
i. Were South Africans only there to train, refurbish bases or to stand guard as alleged by the troops themselves?
j. Who exactly was involved in the contact i.e. CAR government troops, and/or RSA troops and/or the Séléka rebel alliance and what are the details?
k. Who resourced and trained the Séléka rebel alliance and with what motive?
This request to intervene is necessitated by the fact that our government’s leadership has been compromised. It is reported that the ruling party, its senior leaders and its business investment arms are involved in pillaging the resources of the CAR.
Of interest to the people of South Africa is which assets were so important to protect that justified the spending of billions of Rands of State funds and the careless loss of our soldier’s lives.
Mr Bantu Holomisa, MP