Hundreds of IFP ‘veterans’ held

2008-08-29 00:00

Hundreds of members of the South African Un-integrated Forces (SAUIF) were arrested after a confrontation with police outside Ulundi in northern KZN yesterday.

Police arrived unexpectedly in five buses to move the trainees from Malaba camp, where they have been living since April last year.

Police spokeswoman Director Phindile Radebe said about 300 of the trainees were charged with contravening the Criminal Law Second Amendment Act.

But the men and women, who claim to be former members of the Inkatha Freedom Party’s disbanded Self Protection Unit, said they have a right to be in the camp.

They said they are preparing to be integrated into the South African National Defence Force, but do not know when this will begin.

One of their leaders, Moses Nkosi, said there were more than 500 SAUIF members at Mlaba camp.

They showed the police letters, which they said they received from the office of President Thabo Mbeki, he added.

Nkosi said the presidency admitted in the letters, which are dated December 19, 2006 and March 2007, that there had been corruption and mistakes made during the integration process.

He said he believed that former members of the SPU were unfairly left out of the SANDF.

“Despite having seen the letters, they are going ahead and forcing us into the buses. They don’t say where they are taking us,” said Nkosi.

He said the presidency gave them the hope that one day they would be integrated into the SANDF.

“Police first came here on July 2 and gave us an ultimatum of July 6 to leave the camp. We showed them these letters, which they took away,” said Nkosi.

Nkosi said their training started at Jabulani in Johannesburg in January 2006, moving to Mandleni in October 2006. They later moved to Phongolo before finally settling at Mlaba camp in April last year.

SAIUF members were members of the SPU who were trained in Mandleni, Mandeni and Mlaba camps until early 2004. Nkosi said other members were trained in parts of Pietermaritzburg.

Radebe said the people arrested yesterday have been detained at Mahlabathini police station and will appear in court on Monday.

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