South Africa's Foreign Policy: Striving towards Mandela’s Ideals

"In January 2013, before the temporary ceasefire between the government of the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Seleka rebels, followed by the resumption of warfare in March, South Africa deployed an estimated 200 paratroopers as part of a bilateral security agreement between Pretoria and then-President Bozize. While defending the capital of Bangui during the rebels’ final advance on 23–24 March, 13 South African troops were killed – the largest number of military casualties since the end of white minority rule in 1994 – and 27 were wounded. A Stratfor source in South Africa has since reported that the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will probably send reinforcements to the CAR with 200 new troops, reportedly positioned in Entebbe, Uganda,to support the South African mission in Bangui. The forces deployed by South Africa to the CAR were inadequate to attack and defeat the estimated 5 000-strong Seleka rebel army. As the contingent had been stationed in Bangui for two months, and had probably received intelligence on the rebels’ strength and location, its objective was probably not to defeat the insurgency. If this had been the aim, South Africa would have deployed a larger number of troops, as well as forces – such as armoured units, attack helicopters, and strike aircraft – better suited for the task of an intervention."