Sisulu bent on banning unions from the military

2010-12-03 09:00

Defence minister Lindiwe Sisulu will change the Constitution if she has to in order to ban unions from the SA National Defence Force.

“There’s a crazy notion that the Constitution is not in good hands, that it needs to be rescued.

We’ve no intention of changing it.

But it is a living organism of our democracy.

If it has elements that we might not have taken into consideration when we put it together, we have a responsibility to amend it,” she said in an interview published in the Mail & Guardian.

“But we will not amend it willy-nilly.

I will try all the avenues to see if there is a way that we can deal with the unions without amending the Constitution.

“But should the need arise, and should it be the will of Parliament, that is the route we might have to follow.”

She said “international best practice” around the world was to ban unions from the military.

There were only two countries that allowed them – Germany and Denmark.

“In fact, Africa is shocked by the very idea that there should be unions in the defence force.

“We’ll implement the decision [to ban] when we’re convinced that we put all our building blocks in place,” she said.

Sisulu this week lost a court case with unions after the High Court in Pretoria ruled that the procedure used to issue dismissal notices to 1 000 soldiers who took part in an illegal strike at the Union Buildings was unconstitutional.

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