News24

Dept drops court fight against soldiers

2012-07-27 22:10

Johannesburg - Soldiers dismissed in 2009 for misconduct will be charged under the military court system, the defence and military veterans department said on Friday.

"The Supreme Court of Appeal process will not continue against the 1 300 soldiers. It will be handed over to the military justice system," ministerial spokesperson Sonwabo Mbananga said.

"[T]hat process will determine what sanction, if any would be handed down to those found to have transgressed."

Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula decided, based on legal advice, and in consultation with the Chief of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) to withdraw the cases, the department said in a statement.

In August 2009 soldiers staged an illegal march to the Union Buildings, wanting to hand a memorandum about a salary dispute to the presidency.

Some of them tried to get into the perimeter of the Union Buildings by scaling a fence and the police intervened. Former defence minister Lindiwe Sisulu promised stern action and sent provisional termination notices to around 1 000 soldiers.

The SA National Defence Union (Sandu) said it hoped the decision would be the first step in resolving several other labour issues in the department.

"[Sandu] commends the minister on displaying quality leadership which up to now has been lacking in the department of defence," the union said in a statement.

Costs, legal fees


Sandu said Sisulu's decision cost the country millions.

"The result of Sisulu's obstinate insistence has been that up to now thousands of soldiers have awaited their fates at home with full pay for three years, costing the country in excess of R300 million and legal fees which by now already amounts to R3 million."

The soldiers who had been forced to stay at home had missed out on benefits and career progression, the union added.

In 2009, Sandu took the matter to North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, challenging the manner in which the department terminated the soldiers' employment.

The court ruled in Sandu's favour, saying the procedure adopted was not fair. The department took the matter to the Supreme Court of Appeal after a leave to appeal application was not granted in the High Court in Pretoria.

Mapisa-Nqakula alerted the court on 25 July that the department would not proceed with the matter.

Comments
  • sally.lewitt - 2012-07-28 04:39

    Discipline is a vital part of mental strength.. No good deed goes unpunished. Just thinking..

      fussed.anderson - 2012-07-28 07:37

      And after sitting at home on full pay and benefits for 3 years,Uneducated incompetent Idiots trying to run this country

  • Andre - 2012-07-28 05:28

    These soldiers should have been charged and tried under the military discipline code (MDC) from the first instance. The military have their own legal system for military offenders. The courts should only come in when they transgress civil laws.

  • J.Stephen.Whiteley - 2012-07-28 06:24

    After three years they get it right

  • neville.welthagen - 2012-07-28 07:47

    Put the bastards against the wall and shoot them. Problem solved.

      jafta.sehona1 - 2012-08-02 10:11

      Neville bastard is ur mother you moorskond,sies.

      jafta.sehona1 - 2012-08-02 10:12

      Neville bastard is ur mother you moorskond,sies.

  • zionpercival.pay - 2012-07-28 08:15

    With drawing the charges against these soldiers is treasonable because it aids and abets the actions of soldiers who have usurped the national and military laws of this country. One can only ask as to the efficiency of this rag-tag villains in combat.

  • illgner - 2012-07-28 08:18

    How can we allow anarchy to win - Madness rules!!

  • dentamokhabz - 2012-07-28 08:21

    The fact is Soldiers were wrong to strike, based on their employment contract of defence act, as they have put our country under pressure basically looking at the safety if our country. But the fact that they striked for the income of the family should be a reason of concern. The Government should give them money that will make them serve the country with pride uniform alone is no good. Therefore, even if they will be charged Departmentaly they should just get warning and the employer should give them pay that will enable them to look after their family.

      harold.parsons.37 - 2012-07-28 10:53

      What a brilliant idea. Next time they strike while on active service we can give them more money and promotions and decorations for outstanding service. This well disciplined group of soldiers who look so smart in their uniforms when they walk in the street and have such clean and neat barracks and ensure that they eat all their food so that they can shine a look much bigger than they are. And break all the military equipment given to them. and when economics times get tough they know how to sell the rifles issued to them to bank robbersshould only be given a friendly smile when they step out of line. Our troops are rubbish. I have no confidence in them.

  • stanley.marries - 2012-07-28 08:37

    I DON'T KNOW WHAT ALL THE FUSS IS ABOUT!!!!. . . .There is a saying...''little knowledge is very dangerous''...with that said,to the people that are placing absurd comments here,go do your homework first before making these comments. The members that were involved in the strike might still face the same ''punishment'' in a military,depending on the MDC. They are NOT of the hook yet!! And in a military court,the judges do not play with you,they take offences like these very seriously. Andd I have this feeling in my gutt that the prepatrators won't like the outcome of the case once the MDC is brought into place!

  • Zahir - 2012-07-28 13:13

    SA has a military what do they do?

  • thurlodinejacky.jonesruiters - 2012-07-28 19:58

    Allot of suspended soldiers were not even @ d strike dat day,

      thurlodinejacky.jonesruiters - 2012-07-28 20:07

      Allot who r still on duty was actually @ d strike.

  • jafta.sehona1 - 2012-08-02 10:29

    I DON,T KNOW WHY PEOPLE R SWEARING AT US(SOLDIERS),SOME OF U DON,T EVEN KNOW WHAT THEY R TALKING ABOUT,FIRST OF ALL THAT WAS A MARCH NOT A STRIKE U MORONS,U CAN ALL GO TO HELL,SOLDIERS WENT THERE TO HAND OVER THE MEMORANDUM,THEY WERE EVEN ESCORTED BY POLICE AND TRAFFICS,THINGS ONLY WHEN THEY GOT THERE THAT THE MARCH WAS CANCELLED,TRANSPORT PAID IN FULL JUST TO BE TURNED AWAY,IT WAS EASY(TAKE THE MEMORANDUM AND SOLDIERS LEAVE,EASY AS THAT).

  • mpho.mathobo1 - 2012-08-20 15:22

    the sad thing is that some of the people who where suspended where not part of that march.....if they was a proper way of knowing who exactly was there then i would be in full support of the disciplinary process but for now im not.

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