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Thursday, March 28, 2013
Central African Republic Scramble For Minerals
AS pressure builds on President Jacob Zuma to explain South Africa's military involvement in the war-torn Central African Republic, it has emerged that companies with links to influential politicians and businessmen are gunning for oil and mineral deals in the region.
At least one company, Divine Inspiration Group Oil - owned by influential businesswoman Andrea Brown - is currently operating in the CAR.
Brown, who is the sole director of the company, is a key business partner with Encha Group, an investment company founded by Tiego Moseneke, brother of current Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke. She also acted as a consultant or worked with the government in the drafting of BEE legislation.
Thirteen South African soldiers were killed and 27 wounded over the weekend in CAR's capital, Bangui, as advancing rebels toppled the country's controversial president, Francois Bozize.
South African military command said the troops died while defending military assets, but troops on the ground, speaking through the SA National Defence Union, claimed that many were killed defending South African commercial interests.
Other companies linked to large-scale oil prospecting in the region - including an oil lake in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo that stretches to the southern region of CAR - are Caprikat and Foxwhelp, owned by Jacob Zuma's nephew, Khulubuse Zuma. Both these companies are registered in the Virgin Islands.