CO of Durban Light Infantry in medals scandal

2012-10-01 00:00

THE commanding officer-designate of Durban Light Infantry (DLI) is being prosecuted for allegedly wearing the medals of a deceased chaplain of the unit during a parade.

Lieutenant-Colonel Sibusiso Amos Mbuyazi (42) apparently wore the padre’s Southern Cross medal, awarded for 30 years’ service, and the Pro Patria decoration, among others, on August 22, when he was awarded his lieutenant-colonel’s rank during a parade in Pretoria.

The Southern Cross medal was awarded for outstanding service under the old dispensation, and the Pro Patria medal for border service during the border war.

The 30-year service medal would mean that Mbuyazi would have been serving in the old defence force at the age of 12.

Mbuyazi apparently wore the medals again at a formal dinner on the evening following the parade, after which some of the oficers present raised the alarm.

All the official photos taken on the day show him wearing the medals on his chest.

The medals apparently belonged to Chaplain Patrick Montgomery, who served with the DLI for many years. After his death some time ago his family donated them to the regiment for safekeeping. The medals were stolen from the display cabinet at the regiment in May this year.

Mbuyazi was formerly attached to 121 SA Infantry Battalion in Mtubatuba before joining DLI about 18 months ago. He is due to become the officer commanding the unit in about four weeks.

Generals attending the parade and formal dinner in Pretoria were reportedly alerted to the strange medals on Mbuyazi’s chest, but nothing was done about it.

The numbers of the medals were checked and found to correspond with those of Montgomery’s medals.

Mbuyazi was apparently confronted about the matter a few days later. He he allegedly said he had borrowed the medals from a friend for the occasion.

The medals were apparently stolen shortly after the parade in Pretoria.

Mbuyazi has now been formally warned in terms of the discipline rules that he is being charged with several offences: theft; theft of state property or of property of a comrade; scandalous conduct; knowingly wearing a medal belonging to someone else; improper conduct; and conduct to the detriment of military discipline.

However, the disciplinary warning has been referred back to the unit because it was served on Mbuyazi by another lieutenant-colonel, while it should have been served by someone with a higher rank.

The army confirmed that the summons had been issued and that further statements relating to the charges against Mbuyazi were awaited.

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