Opposition calls on defence minister to delay deployment of soldiers to Mozambique
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Cape Town - The official opposition has called on Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to delay the deployment of troops to the volatile region of Cabo Delgado in Mozambique after it was attacked by insurgents early this year.
Scores of people died in Mozambique leading to Total suspending its project in the region, with investments worth $20 billion.
Regional leaders have agreed to send soldiers to Cabo Delgado.
This comes after Rwanda sent 1 000 soldiers to Mozambique, and Portugal deploying technical experts.
DA MP and its spokesperson on defence, Kobus Marais, said Mapisa-Nqakula must delay sending troops to join SADC forces in Mozambique because of the security situation in the country after the looting that took place in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
The government has deployed 25 000 soldiers to restore stability and secure key infrastructure.
“The planned deployment of 25 000 SANDF members to the two provinces is a huge commitment and proceeding with the Mozambique deployment will stretch our national defence capabilities to the limit. Priority should be placed on stabilising the security situation in the country and restoring law and order.
“Following the announcement that Mozambique has finally signed the Status of Forces Agreement that will mark the start of troop deployment to Cabo Delgado, the participation of the SANDF in the SADC Standby Force is no longer tenable, because of the prevailing security situation in South Africa,” he said.
He said the soldiers can only be sent to Mozambique once there was stability in South Africa.
International military commitment would have to happen when there was certainty that security had been restored in our country, said Marais.