The Ceasefire Campaign is deeply disturbed by the unnecessary loss of life in the Central African Republic. Our hearts go out to the families of the soldiers—both South African and foreign—who have died in this unnecessary conflict..
It is unacceptable that South Africans have died in an armed conflict in which there is so little public knowledge of precisely what it is that the SANDF is doing in the CAR in the first place. The absence of clear information and the lack of public accountability in the defence force decision making processes makes this loss of life all the more tragic.
The Ceasefire Campaign reiterates its unwavering position that military interventions are not the solution to the deep rooted forms of social conflict on our continent. Where the deployment of troops appear to be linked to the protection of economic interests and the assets of South African capital serious questions need to be raised about the way in which human life and material interests are being valued by those in positions of power.
The White Paper on Peace Missions accepted in October 1994, that still purports to serve as the guide to the deployment of South African troops makes it clear that South Africa’s preferred options are preventive diplomacy, peace-making, and peace building. In a context of deeply polarised armed conflict, such as the Central African Republic, the deployment of troops inevitably allies South Africa with one side, and against another. The loss of lives in the CAR is explicitly linked to this alignment, which goes against the grain of South Africa’s intended international diplomatic and foreign policy agenda.
Ceasefire rejects the need for South African troops to be used in contexts such as the CAR and calls for the burden of the lives lost to be placed squarely on the shoulders of the SANDF and South African Government officials involved in the decision making process that led to their deployment
The short-sighted self-interests of opportunists that have used these events to call for greater resources to be pumped into the military and to expand the military role South Africa is playing on the continent, need also to be exposed. Ceasefire reiterates its call for resources to be redirected away from a military that is unnecessary, and that utilises resources that would be better spent on meeting the social needs of all South Africans In this way we could be contributing to a deeper more collective form of human security for all.
Issued 27 March
Contacts: Rob Thomson: 011 6465332/072 8126251; Guni Govindjee 011 835 2341; Laura Pollecutt 082 0923849