Soldiers in illegal march treated unfairly by SANDF

2014-08-28 15:17

The defence force did not act fairly in taking disciplinary action against soldiers who took part in an illegal march, the Supreme Court of Appeal has held.

The court delivered judgment today in an appeal by the defence department over a decision that its disciplining of the soldiers did not meet the requirements of justice and fairness.

The soldiers are members of the South African National Defence Union. They were accused of disobeying a command to return to base after participating in an illegal march to the Union Buildings in 2009.

The appeal involves notices to the soldiers by the department, including media statements, published in two newspapers on November 14 and 15 2012.

Today, a full Bench of the appeals court dismissed the appeal by the defence minister, the secretary for defence, and the chief of the South African National Defence Force.

The court said an employee had to be afforded adequate opportunity to respond and obtain help, such as from a trade union.

The facts of the case indicated the soldiers involved did not have enough time to obtain advice and help from their trade union, of whose existence the defence force was well aware.

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