Saldanha 'torn in two'

2004-08-25 09:02

Cape Town - Racial tension at the defence force's Military Academy at Saldanha has caused a rift between staff members who used to work together "congenially" before.

Some of the staff members said previous feelings of solidarity have been replaced with mistrust and suspicion.

They said racial incidents, reported in newspapers on Tuesday, were just the tip of the iceberg and symptomatic of a bigger problem.

Allegations have been made that the management style of the academy's commander, Brigadier General Tawana Manyama, is to blame. Manyana wasn't available for comment on Tuesday.

A source who did not want to be named said personnel got along well with the previous commander, Brigadier General Solly Mollo, but since Manyama took over in January, the academy has been plagued with problems.

"Mollo came from MK ranks and was more moderate than Manyama who used to be a member of Apla. I do not know what his orders are, but it seems as if he wants to force down affirmative action at all costs."

The source said staff members at the unit were split in two camps and work at the academy was suffering because of it.

"Appointments are being made for political gain rather than for serving the aim of the academy."

The academic courses at the unit are presented under the banner of the University of Stellenbosch's department of military science.

Mohamed Shaikh, spokesperson for the university, said the university could not take responsibility for dissention at the academy.

"The university merely provides the academic platform and does not have a say about the management. The university was concerned to learn about the shortage of books and will address this problem as soon as possible, but it cannot comment on more than that.

Shaikh said the university could make recommendations about appointments, but the defence force had to agree with these recommendations. "Everyone remains in the defence force's service and the defence force pays their salaries."

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