Soldiers' deployments unlawful - union
Pretoria - The recent deployment of soldiers into civilian areas in Johannesburg and Cape Town was unlawful and unconstitutional, the SA National Defence Force Union (Sandu) said on Friday.
"Sandu's legal team... is convinced that the current deployments, if based on the reasons offered by the department [of defence] are in all probability authorised in contravention of the Constitution and thus unlawful," said national secretary Pikkie Greeff.
"The last thing needed is that the South African public gets the notion that soldiers deployed in civilian areas, to do what is essentially police work, is an acceptable norm."
The military trade union was concerned that soldiers, if unlawfully deployed, were at risk of attracting lawsuits. This risk did not exist on legitimate missions.
"The explanation provided by the department, which sought to justify the legality of these deployments, [was] based on a decade-old open-ended proclamation, by a president not even currently in office, begs belief," said Greeff.
"This dubious explanation only serves to strengthen the concerns already raised."
The union resolved to urgently submit a complaint to the office of the public protector in a bid to have a pronouncement made on the legality of the deployments.