CAPE TOWN, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- The deployment of peace troopers in the war-torn Central African Republic (CAR) could cost South African taxpapers 1.2 billion rand (about 136 million U.S. dollars) over five years, President Jacob Zuma said on Monday.
Zuma clarified that his initial estimate of 65 million rand (about 7.4 million dollars) for the deployment of 400 SA National Defense Force (SANDF) members was only for the period from Jan. 3 to March 31.
Zuma made the clarification in a letter to National Assembly speaker Max Sisulu, according to the South African Press Association.
"No provision has been made yet for the financial year 2013/14 for this employment," said Zuma.
Zuma has been criticized by the opposition Democratic Alliance for the amount the government would spend taxpayers' money on sending troops to CAR.
Zuma said that while no budgetary allocation had been made, the deployment of troops would run to March 31, 2018, in terms of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between South Africa and the CAR.
"Therefore, this employment will run up to the end of the duration of our MoU, however if the situation improves in the intervening period, we will revise the protection element accordingly."
Zuma said the Treasury was being consulted on the additional funds needed for the deployment.
The Department of Defense estimates that approximately 21 million rand (about 2.4 million dollars) per month would be required, Zuma said.
On Jan. 6, Zuma authorized the deployment of 400 South African National Defense Force (SANDF) personnel to CAR to render support in fulfilment of an international obligation of South Africa towards CAR. The troops' mission, which will last from Jan. 2 this year to March 31, 2018, is to assist with capacity building of the CAR Defense Force and with the planning and implementation of the disarmament, demobilization and re-integration processes.