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South Africa Hopes Summit Will Resolve CAR Situation

  • Peter Clottey

A picture taken on January 10, 2013 shows Seleka rebel coalition members take up positions in a village 12 kilometers from Damara, where troops of the regional African force FOMAC are stationed.

A picture taken on January 10, 2013 shows Seleka rebel coalition members take up positions in a village 12 kilometers from Damara, where troops of the regional African force FOMAC are stationed.

Regional leaders in the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) plan to meet Wednesday in Chad’s capital, Ndjamena, to discuss the restoration of constitutional order in the Central African Republic (CAR).

Analysts say the leaders will review the latest developments in the CAR after the Seleka rebel movement seized power from President Francois Bozize and named a named a new government.

South Africa’s Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman, Clayson Monyela, says South African President Jacob Zuma and his ministers of international relations, defense and state security will attend Wednesday’s summit in Chad.

"Our interest is to come out of this meeting with a clear way forward of how the region, and the African Union, are going to respond to the development in the Central African Republic," said Monyela.

"We do not recognize the rebels as a new government," Monyela said. "And we will not support unconstitutional change of government in any country on the African continent."

The African Union (AU) also has imposed sanctions on Michel Djotodia, the Seleka rebel leader who declared himself interim president, as well as seven of Djotodia’s colleagues. The AU also has suspended the CAR from the continental body.

Monyela says South Africa will work with other African countries to ensure the continent becomes a zone of peace.

"We need to, by all means as a region [and] as a continent, to ensure that the interest of the people of the Central African Republic are put ahead of everything else, the stability of that country and [that] of the immediate neighbors is also put above everything else," said Monyela.

"People who come to power through the use of force, through unconstitutional means cannot be tolerated in this day and age where we are talking about an African continent that is rising," he said.

Monyela said his country is proud of the work South African troops have been doing in the CAR. Thirteen South African troops were killed when the Seleka rebel group seized power and forced President Bozize to flee the country.

Monyela says the government in Pretoria is hopeful that the AU and the Central African region will take strong measures to help resolve the current situation in the CAR.

"Whatever decision that comes out of this extraordinary summit, in our view, has to reinforce the decision of the AU that such activities as coup d’état belong in the past," said Monyela.

"The region, the continent has to do everything possible to make sure that we are not seen to be encouraging [coups] on the continent, and the response has to be decisive," he concluded.

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