High Court gags soldiers

2009-09-01 22:18
Johannesburg - An interdict to stop soldiers from embarking on illegal marches and to prevent them from making "irresponsible remarks" was issued by the High Court in Pretoria late on Tuesday evening.

"It is clear both unions are condoning activities that seem to border on disrespect for authority and disobeying orders... and that is a dismissable offence," said ministry of defence and military veterans spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya.

The interdict was granted to the defence minister, the secretary of defence and the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) against members of the South African National Defence Union (Sandu) and South African Security Forces Unions' (Sasfu).

The department earlier said the SANDF was issuing up to 2 000 letters of dismissal to soldiers believed to have taken part in last week's protest at the Union Buildings which ended in chaos.

Union mobilising soldiers

It sought a legal remedy after the unions had reacted to the dismissals by allegedly encouraging their members not to accept the dismissal letters.

"We have been watching the comments made by Sandu... telling their members not to accept the disciplinary letters... a soldier who does not accept it is in disobeying a lawful order," Mabaya said.

"Most importantly in the barracks we are receiving information that Sandu is mobilising soldiers to disobey orders from commanders... and we received information that they are mobilising soldiers to protest again. We needed to stop that."

He added that it was a means of protecting soldiers themselves from losing their jobs.

"We thought it's very important to do that, if we don't, it puts a lot of soldiers at risk of losing their work... it is also in a sense protecting the soldiers from the irresponsible acts of Sandu."

10 days to respond

Mabaya said it was the largest number of soldiers the SANDF had intended firing at once. They had 10 days to respond to the letters of dismissal.

He rejected suggestions by defence unions that this process was unsound and that a military or magistrate's court was more appropriate.

"We are determined that this is the process," said Mabaya, in response to Sandu's and Sasfu's contention that it did not start from the point of a presumption of innocence.

Mabaya said the ministry had already proved that they were guilty.

"They stay in barracks, so we know who was in and who was out. We have a list of people who were not at work."

He said soldiers who may have come down with an illness on the day, or who had taken leave, would have been picked up through controls and in this way it was possible to work out who had participated.

Union wants to meet Sisulu

The dismissal letter asks for details of where the recipient was on August 26 - the day of the incident, said Pikkie Greeff, national secretary of Sandu, which intends applying for a court interdict to have the letters withdrawn.

Sasfu said it was urgently trying to secure a meeting with the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu to have the letters withdrawn and would also turn to the courts if this failed.

Deputy secretary general of the union Vincent Sibiya agreed with Sandu's stance, saying the letters were not covered by any policy in the army.

Meanwhile, the SA Council of Churches has arranged a meeting with Sisulu in Cape Town at 10:00 on Wednesday to help resolve the issue, following a meeting with Sandu earlier on Tuesday. Sasfu was invited but was unable to attend.

- SAPA
Read more on:    sandu  |  sasfu  |  sandf  |  lindiwe sisulu  |  high court in pretoria
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
Investment tips you need to know 2015-01-29 14:07

Ever wondered how to assess your future potential liability? Feroz Basa, Senior Portfolio Manager Old Mutual Investment Group, weighs in on all the investment tips you need to know. WATCH.

/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 40% on outdoor accessories!

Tents, sleeping, day packs and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Month End Madness Sale!

Save up to 60% on across a wide range of goods from books to electronics, DVDs and many more. Sale end 31 January 2015. Shop now!

Valentine’s Day gifts – 14 Feb!

Gifts to spoil him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

30% off fragrances

Get 30% off fragrances for him and her. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off All Textbooks

Save up to 30% off an extensive range of prescribed textbooks for all major universities and FET colleges. Shop Now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Something may come back into focus. You may get a second chance to say what needs to be said. The important focus today is to not...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.