Malema can address troops - expert

2012-09-13 14:08

 Johannesburg - Expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema can legally address SA National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers who are in civilian dress or off-duty, a constitutional expert said on Thursday.

"As far as I know, there is also no law that specifically prohibits a private citizen from addressing troops - even if that private citizen is Julius Malema and even if he criticises the government of the day," law expert Pierre de Vos said in his blog, Constitutionally Speaking.

On Wednesday, Malema addressed about 60 soldiers in civilian dress at the Lenasia Recreation Centre.
The SANDF said on Thursday that it would seek legal advice on Malema's address to soldiers.

"We want to understand the legality of it and the implication. The meeting between Mr Malema and SANDF members... we need to find the legal basis of that," said Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga.

'Out of order'

"We cannot think that any member of the public can just go and talk to members of the SANDF."
Mabanga said it was also unacceptable for SANDF members to invite a person to address them outside defence structures.

"Anybody outside the established military structure and the South African government, that would be out of order. Even if they invited a pastor, or a priest or a bishop or a sangoma, or whatever," Mabanga said.

He said SANDF members who had grievances should use existing structures to voice them and not air them with private individuals such as Malema.

De Vos said SANDF members were not expected to be apolitical or not to have their own private beliefs.

They could be politically active as long as they obeyed legal orders from their superiors.

Rights of soldiers

He said a "blanket ban" on soldiers attending Malema's speech was probably unjustifiable.

"If this were a blanket ban on the attendance of soldiers (whether on duty and in uniform or not), the instruction almost certainly imposed an unjustifiable limitation on the rights of soldiers to take part in [any] political activity," De Vos said.

Soldiers who were off-duty and in civilian garb could attend a political gathering, as long as that gathering was not unlawful.

"However, on-duty soldiers or soldiers in uniform who did attend may well face disciplinary charges and, plausibly, even dismissal," De Vos said.

He said the law did put limits on the rights of soldiers to engage in protests or demonstrations. These rights might be limited if they were needed to maintain military discipline.

"Reports indicate that the defence force had prohibited its members from attending the Malema event (one assumes because it was thought necessary to maintain military discipline)," De Vos said.

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula told SABC radio on Wednesday that Malema seemed bent on turning soldiers against the state.

Military disciplinary code

"You can't just go on and on and on, and be going around mobilising funeral gatherings and agitating people to become ungovernable," she said.

"What are the consequences? I wish I knew. What I do know is that any responsible citizen in South Africa cannot associate him or herself with a person who wants to agitate and mobilise members of the SANDF against the state because they have concerns," said Mapisa-Nqakula.

Malema spoke to a smaller crowd, of about 60, than was anticipated at Lenasia on Wednesday.

He criticised the political leadership of the country and accused it of ignoring the needs of SANDF members, including not re-instating the 1 100 soldiers put on special leave for protesting at the Union Buildings in 2009.

Mabanga said some of the 60 soldiers at Malema's speech were among the 1 100 members put on special leave and they could face disciplinary action for their attendance.

"They still fall under the military disciplinary code. They're still members of the SANDF," Mabanga said.

He said they had been ordered to return to their home units and would now be charged with failing to obey that order.

Some of the other SANDF members had already been dismissed and the military therefore had no jurisdiction over them.

  • deon.louw.7505 - 2012-09-13 14:39

    He should not even teach pre primary children, perhaps only woodwork for the blind.

  • peter.ndamase - 2012-09-13 14:40

    They are probably frustrated since a free legal advice has been provided. That should have been a tender.

      shudusO - 2012-09-13 15:37

      Lol...i think thats a Tender...Malema can't just Go out there talking nonsense for nothing! he use to get paid for it and he will continue as long as money is there

  • Willie - 2012-09-13 14:49

    There you have it from the Prof

  • shirley.steenkamp - 2012-09-13 14:53

    In any other sane country malemas actions would be seen as treason and anrachy! Here its every terrorist for themselves!

      irene.buthelezi.1 - 2012-09-13 15:34

      @tshililililo ~ Have you ever left your village?

      shirley.steenkamp - 2012-09-13 15:45

      Tshililo: You know this how??? Actually I have been to quiet a few. When people stir up violence like this etc,they are arrested. Its only in Africa where the tsotsis make the rules!

      shirley.steenkamp - 2012-09-13 15:46

      Irene: I doubt he has left his room! Too busy watching his hero on tv!

      lekgalenelsons - 2012-09-14 12:17

      Shirly, lucky our country is not sane, which means our beloved Malema cannot be accused of any anarchy or treason. that's what i like bout democracy.

  • robert.mevo - 2012-09-13 14:54

    it cms lyk everything touch by Malema, its breaking.Stop interfiering 2 our problems u make it wess n unresolvable.4rm mining 2 SANDF.(AMEN)

  • Tom van Niekerk - 2012-09-13 15:01

    why is it that he cause so much problems?who do he thinks he is?dammit man what can he do for me if i dont need his help at all!!!whay does everything he touches break appart or dies?

      koos.dabulamanzi - 2012-09-13 15:10

      Im wondering kanyekanye wat is it tht Malema said during this meeting that was unconstitutional I did not hear anything of that sort can any 1 help me out here,I am no fan of juju but if people think julius malema is stupid just as they think Bob is stupid but has been ruling a country since donkey jaare then we really have something to be concern about

  • melvin.rautenbach - 2012-09-13 15:11

    Freedom of Association and Freedom of Expression are rather important. Mr Malema can say anything he likes, and anyone is free to listen to him. Whether the government like it or not is not of great concern. Of course gatherings of the sort have to fit into a legal framework, just as any gathering. In fact, we can do anything we like as long as it fits into the relevant legal framework. Soldiers' organisations have the right to invite members of the public to address them, whether it be a pastor, or bishop, or local celebrity. I am sure that each organisation has its own set of criteria for inviting guests, which of course they are entitled to do. The mere fact that someone, or the government, does not like the guest, or what the guest has to say, is of very little significance. If this leads to violence, or treason, then it will be illegal. But talk is better than cheap, it is free, and everyone has the right to that.

      lekgalenelsons - 2012-09-14 12:25

      Melvin, I cannot agree more with what u say, some people think that if they hate someone the whole country must do the same, which it cannot be correct. I wish we all learn that freedom of Association/Expression is for all, not a particular individuals.

  • lucious.bodibe - 2012-09-13 15:14

    viva prof, viva

  • dessa.juniortshabisto - 2012-09-13 15:22

    Don't aim at the prof, he's just stating facts.

  • vierkleur.transvaal - 2012-09-13 15:24

    My enemy’s enemy is my friend!!! Thanks Juju!!!

  • dadvarussie - 2012-09-13 15:25

    misconception of gender equality wc saw SA Ministries bng lead by [PUPPETS] wmn provides Malema w all opportunities to attach even w little care. Yet still Malema tells the trueth

  • osmaseko - 2012-09-13 15:28

    Many people were happy when Julius Malema was fired from the ANC. I think the ANC made their worst mistake by doing that. They had an opportunity to deal with him inside the organization, but now unfortunately how are they going to deal with him as a private citizen? They tried with their agencies but where are all the allegations and charges everyone was talking about? The only solutions is to take him back to the organization and let him speak to the miners as a member of the organization maybe we can see a difference with the situation..just my thought.

      Tefo Buccaneer Mokoena - 2012-09-13 15:40

      either that or arrange a small accident involving him...

  • desertratbkf - 2012-09-13 15:37

    Why is he still referred to as "Expelled ANCYL Leader"? He is just Julius Malema now! A general member of the public! That's it! Everybody knows he has been expelled.

      shirley.steenkamp - 2012-09-13 15:47

      Except him.....judging by his actions!

      desertratbkf - 2012-09-13 15:50

      cANCer, you created this piece of cr@ap, deal with it now!

  • zaks2217 - 2012-09-13 16:08

    I love south africa

  • Phil.Kleynhans - 2012-09-13 16:37

    Pierre de Vos kruip jy g*t by Julius

  • Saul Shauleen Mukwewa - 2012-09-13 22:20

    i agree soldiers are also human beings,,,,,JM is right!

  • mzondistanley - 2012-09-15 16:00

    So you can address my Troops while you do not agree with me as the Commander of the Batallion !! You just want to die as Matyrs who stood for your Stomachs!! We are running a Government not a farm!! In the Arm soldiers do not demonstrate the world over!! You will regret your actions if you dare to do so!!

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