IFP fighters’ SANDF bid could cost state millions

2012-08-16 00:00

A SUPREME Court application by about 9 000 members of the former KwaZulu Self-protection Force (KZSPF) who were not integrated into the defence force could cost the state millions if it is successful.

The application has just been submitted to the Supreme Court in Pretoria, almost 18 years after integration into the defence force began.

It is expected that the application might ultimately go as far as the Constitutional Court. If it succeeds, it could also form the basis for claims by similar units, such as the Cape Corps, which were also not integrated.

The KZSPF are demanding that they be integrated retroactively and be granted all the benefits they would have enjoyed as soldiers.

They claim that their non-integration is a violation of their constitutional right and that the defence force itself broke the law by manipulating the integration.

Former Colonel Phillip Dhlamini, who previously worked in the defence force’s labour relations section and is now assisting the KZSPF, said the force was recognised as the military wing of the IFP at the time.

As such its delegates participated in Codesa, the negotiations that led to the establishment of a democratic dispensation in the country.

About 2 000 members of the force were integrated into the defence force on the basis that only soldiers of non-statutory forces who were serving in these forces on April 27, 1994 would be integrated.

The court application said the defence force violated this guideline on several occasions after this date.

Defence force documents said the cabinet apparently approved the integration of a limited number of members of the KZSPF, while the same restriction was not applied to any of the other non-statutory forces.

Questioned is the SANDF’s argument up until now that the integration process was legally brought to an end by the Termination of Integration Intake Act of 2001.

Until 2004, members of the former Mkhonto weSizwe were still being integrated as senior officers into the defence force. According to the application, the 2001 act, as a minor act subject to the Constitution, cannot prevent the KZSPF’s constitutional right to integration.

Since no heed has been paid to the force’s pleas by the president, the minister of Defence, the portfolio committee on defence, the chief and management of the defence force of the defence force since 1994, all these parties are respondents.

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