Charges against SANDF soldiers withdrawn

2013-05-09 08:33

Charges against 72 SA National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers who participated in an illegal march to the Union Buildings have been withdrawn.

The charges were dropped yesterday at a pre-trial proceeding at the SA Army Gymnasium College, in Heidelberg, because of a lack of evidence, The New Age reported today.

The soldiers, who appeared in military court on yesterday, had reportedly obeyed an SANDF instruction to report back to their home units to be warned and arraigned.

Twenty other soldiers did not appear as they were on a military mission. The court would decide their pre-trial date today, SANDF spokesman Brig-Gen Xolani Mabanga told the newspaper.

He said another 225 soldiers would also stand trial for taking part in the 2009 protest.

The charges against them included absenteeism without leave, defying a lawful instruction and participating in an illegal march.

Another 600 soldiers had been suspended on full pay pending administrative processes and disciplinary action.

During the march on August 26, 2009, the police had to use water cannons and rubber bullets to disperse protesting soldiers.

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