Soldiers need to be loyal, reliable and disciplined – Zuma

2010-12-16 12:20

Soldiers who could not be loyal, disciplined and reliable should not be part of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), President Jacob Zuma said today.

Speaking at a Day of Reconciliation ceremony at the Thaba Tshwane military base, Zuma told a packed hall that these attributes were “non-negotiable”.

“Anyone who finds these attributes too difficult to adhere to should not be in the defence force,” he said to loud applause.

Zuma said soldiers were “not ordinary civil servants who are guided by the Public Service Act”.

They required “special attention”, which the government was working on.

Earlier, rain forced the cancellation of the annual Reconciliation Day military parade and South African Air Force fly-by.

Numerous official guests and a large media contingent had gathered around the flooded parade ground, only to be told the event had been cancelled.

Guests and journalists were ushered into a large hall where Zuma spoke, quipping that the cancellation of the parade was not an indication that the SANDF could not function in wet weather.

Last August, a group of soldiers defied a court order not to march to the Union Buildings over a salary dispute.

When they arrived at the building, which houses the president’s and executive’s Pretoria offices, people were seen scaling the fences and a police vehicle was set alight.

Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu promised stern action and sent provisional termination notices to 1 000 soldiers.

On December 1, the High Court in Pretoria granted an order to Sandu declaring the procedure adopted by the SANDF – in terms of which the soldiers were issued with termination notices – unlawful and unconstitutional.

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