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SA’s oil and diamond stake in CAR

EVIDENCE mounted yesterday that South Africa’s military involvement in the Central African Republic could be linked to mineral and oil deals .

At least one company, Divine Inspiration Group Oil – owned by businesswoman Andrea Brown – is already operating in CAR.

Brown, its sole director , is a key business partner with Encha Group, an investment company founded by Tiego Moseneke, brother of deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke.

She also acted as a consultant in the drafting of black economic empowerment legislation.

Thirteen South African soldiers were killed and 27 wounded at the weekend in CAR’s capital, Bangui, as rebels toppled the president, Francois Bozize.

South Africa’s military command said the troops died defending military assets, but troops on the ground, speaking through the SA National Defence Union, claimed many were killed defending South African commercial interests.

The ANC has denied any link between the deployment and the business interests .

“We are not in the business of business; we are in business of politics, and our business of politics has been done in South Africa,” spokesman Jackson Mthembu said.

The Mail&Guardian reported yesterday Didier Pereira, a special adviser to Bozize, partnered with ANC-linked businessman Joshua Nxumalo and the ANC’s funding arm, Chancellor House, to secure a diamond export monopoly from the CAR.

In 2006 Pereira signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the CAR mining ministry to create a public-private partnership, Inala Centrafrique. SA firm Serengeti Group, majority-owned by Nxumalo, had a 65% stake in it.

Other companies linked to large-scale oil prospecting in the region – including an oil lake in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that stretches to the southern region of CAR – are Caprikat and Foxwhelp, owned by President Jacob Zuma’s nephew, Khulubuse Zuma. Both companies are registered in the Virgin Islands.

Divine Oil began in early 2007 as a South African and Congolese initiative aimed at exploring opportunities in the DRC and CAR.

Khulubuse Zuma's companies have signed production-sharing agreements for the control of mineral rights on the same underground lake of oil awarded by DRC President Joseph Kabila.

Khulubuse reportedly signed for the rights for Caprikat, and Michael Hulley, Zuma’s special adviser and business partner of Khulubuse, for Foxwhelp. Zuma is under immense pressure from rival parties to reveal the reasons for the deployment .

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa, in an open letter to Zuma, has questioned him on what South African assets were being protected in CAR and whether South Africa owned or had sold mineral rights in that country.

DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko also wrote to Zuma, asking why he decided to deploy troops in the CAR.

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