Army unions give government an ultimatum

2010-10-27 12:48

 Military trade unions today gave the government until November 5 to pay their World Cup deployment allowances or face another mass protest.

“We implore President Jacob Zuma to act decisively and pronounce on the fact that our soldiers were not paid,” said Pikkie Greeff, the national secretary of the SA National Defence Force Union.

About 10 000 troops were still owed R30 000 each.

“Ever since the retirement of former president Nelson Mandela, successive presidents have played little role in the affairs of the SA National Defence Force.”

Last year’s national strike was marred by soldiers trying to scale the perimeter fence of the Union Buildings on August 27. Asked how they would avoid similar violence, Greeff said: “We can’t do anything when provocateurs are planted.”

The deputy president of the SA Security Forces Union, Charles Jacob, said it was their constitutional right to embark on mass action.

Claiming Zuma had been aloof as commander-in-chief of the army, Greeff urged him to intervene, as previous salary increments announced by him in December last year had lead to “chaotic” structures within the SA National Defence Force. Lower-ranked soldiers were in some instances receiving higher salaries than their seniors.

“There is until today no publicised salary scale. It goes to the heart of the fact that the department is dangerously managed,” said Greeff.

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