Soldiers see Malema as a mouthpiece

2012-09-12 15:29

Soldiers attending a meeting with expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema know he has no power to help them, but say he can at least draw attention to their plight.

One of the soldiers, Sonnyboy Molotsi, who has been placed on special leave following the 2009 strike and march on the Union Buildings, said Malema acted like a “mouthpiece”.

“The way it is in the military, most of the time they don’t allow us to talk to the media because of the disclosure problem,” he said.

“Malema is a messenger who gets it out there.”

In the meeting Sipho Swelinkomo, the chairperson of the concerned soldiers, told the meeting they invited Malema to speak because “he was chased away from the ANC because of the truth”.

He said soldiers were suffering the same problem.

In 2010 a court ruled that the soldiers, who were dismissed after they stormed the Union Buildings during an illegal march the previous year, be reinstated.

They were then placed on special leave, while the defence department appealed the ruling.

The department later withdrew the appeal and in July Defence Minister Mapisa-Nqakula said they would be charged under the military court system.

The soldiers are now complaining that they were being asked to report for duty, but when they did so, the SA National Defence Force chased them away.

If they failed to report for duty, they were being marked absent without leave, the soldiers said.

Swelinkomo told the meeting that soldiers were tired of wasting taxpayers’ money by sitting at home and not working, and by having to resort to the courts.

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