State can’t afford to expel soldiers

2009-09-03 15:41

I AM tempted to join the chorus of those condemning the despicable actions of the protesting soldiers in the strongest terms possible.

As a young democracy, we cannot afford scenes which threaten our internal security as a nation. The defence force is primarily vested with the safety of its country.

When the defence force is in a state of anarchy, the safety and security of the country is in disarray. In fact, the country can be taken advantage of by all sorts of criminals.

In a worst case scenario, the country can become vulnerable to enemy attacks. But having said that, what could have actually triggered the soldiers to act so irresponsibly? The possibility of a long-standing, ­underlying salary dispute between the defence department and soldiers cannot be ruled out.

Something must have pushed the soldiers over the edge. Whatever it is, both parties should hold an emergency meeting an iron that out.

Again, one would have expected a problem-solving mechanism within the department to have detected this and dealt with it immediately.

Intimidation and threats will not solve anything. Least we forget that violence breeds more violence.

The expulsion of soldiers is not an ­option for a number of reasons. Axed soldiers will swell the ranks of the unemployed, and might become involved with ATM bombings and other organised crime.

The state can’t afford to expel ­dissenting soldiers. The price is too high. The fact that soldiers perform an essential duty and therefore must not go on strike should not be used as a smokescreen.Steven SibuyiHazyview

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