Soldiers’ mess is a disgrace

2012-12-20 00:00

SOLDIERS stationed at Thaba Tshwane in Pretoria must eat their lunch in a mess hall that is literally a mess of dirt and cat excrement.

Despite written questions, the army has not answered why Mess B, which was closed more than a year ago because of the poor condition that it is in, is still being used.

When the mess was closed, the rule was that the kitchens could no longer be used to prepare food and that no one could live there.

Since then the ceilings have started to sag and it seems the neighbourhood’s feral cat population has moved in.

Students and staff at the Military Police school have since started to eat at the mess again because there is nowhere else to have their meals.

Their meals are transported from the kitchens at Mess A every day and served in the dilapidated hall.

Mess B has a chef and a staff of at least 15 assistants, and the soldiers want to know what the cooks are doing all day, because they are evidently not helping to prepare their food.

Once a day they transport the food, which was prepared by other cooks, and serve it.

“Can’t they at least see to it that the mess is cleaned,” asked one of the students studying to be a military police officer.

The student says the overwhelming, pungent smell of cat urine is the worst part of eating in Mess B.

A recent attempt was made to dampen the smell by spraying vinegar, but the urine has been absorbed by the carpets in the mess.

“We will eventually have no choice but to have the health authorities come and permanently lock up the place,” the student officer added.

“The previous time it was the occupations safety inspectors who closed the place, but their rules are being broken. It is a shame that the army expects its people to eat in such sordid conditions and then go to work,” the student added.

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