Defence Minister concerned about PE army truck incident

2016-11-05 14:45
(PIC: Kristoff Adelbert, Supplied)

(PIC: Kristoff Adelbert, Supplied)

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Cape Town - Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula was concerned about the actions of a group of armed soldiers who used army trucks to dump furniture at the Port Elizabeth city hall and ram a government vehicle, her spokesperson said on Saturday.

"That is not the kind of behaviour she would like the SA National Defence Force [SANDF] to be associated with," said her spokesperson Joy Peters.

The SANDF has launched an urgent investigation into Friday's shocking events, filmed by many bystanders, as SANDF trucks arrived and armed soldiers offloaded furniture on to the varandah of the Port Elizabeth city hall.

Footage also shows a truck ramming a municipal vehicle and one soldier appearing to encourage the truck to keep driving.

On Saturday morning Mayor Atholl Trollip's chief of staff Kristoff Adelbert said the trucks were back, this time to remove the furniture.

SANDF spokesperson Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga said people living in three military houses at the army support base in Port Elizabeth, were occupying the houses against the rules governing allocation of a military house.

The three houses were identified for evictions, but the rationale for Friday's scenes at the city hall would be investigated.

"An urgent internal investigation has been launched and will run concurrently with the Saps investigation to determine the sequence of events and the roles of all parties involved," he said in a separate statement.

The SANDF regretted the events and would co-operate fully with the police.

Adelbert, who witnessed Friday's events said: "They refused to listen and continued offloading the furniture. 

"They then took out assault rifles in an act of intimidation. The assault rifles were armed, the clip was in, their safety was off and fingers were on the trigger. One tap of the trigger and a bullet would have come out the barrel." 

The furniture did not belong to the municipality, so there was no reason for it to be dumped there, according to Adelbert.

The items dumped included cooking equipment, a couch and shelves.

On Saturday he commented that the municipality had shown it would not stand for for any contravention of the law, or any undemocratic activities.

It was not immediately clear whether anybody had been arrested in connection with the incident, or whether there had been a court order to enforce the evictions from the military base.

Read more on:    nosiviwe maphisa-nqakula  |  port elizabeth

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