Soldiers' deployments unlawful - union

2012-01-20 14:34

Pretoria - The recent deployment of soldiers into civilian areas in Johannesburg and Cape Town was unlawful and unconstitutional, the SA National Defence Force Union (Sandu) said on Friday.

"Sandu's legal team... is convinced that the current deployments, if based on the reasons offered by the department [of defence] are in all probability authorised in contravention of the Constitution and thus unlawful," said national secretary Pikkie Greeff.

"The last thing needed is that the South African public gets the notion that soldiers deployed in civilian areas, to do what is essentially police work, is an acceptable norm."

The military trade union was concerned that soldiers, if unlawfully deployed, were at risk of attracting lawsuits. This risk did not exist on legitimate missions.

"The explanation provided by the department, which sought to justify the legality of these deployments, [was] based on a decade-old open-ended proclamation, by a president not even currently in office, begs belief," said Greeff.

"This dubious explanation only serves to strengthen the concerns already raised."

The union resolved to urgently submit a complaint to the office of the public protector in a bid to have a pronouncement made on the legality of the deployments.

  • Falcovrod - 2012-01-20 14:43

    tHEY HAVE NOTHING TO DO, SO WHY NOT USE THEM TO CURB CRIME AND MURDER. i think it is fantastic if this can happen, in fact i am sure the public will support this and also the soldiers will earn more respect this way, by doing something for the communities instead of sitting around doing nothing.

      Bardy - 2012-01-20 14:57

      It's unlawful to deploy them to do the public good, BUT it's lawful to deploy them to oversee an ANC party? This country is a f%#cking joke!

      tstander - 2012-01-20 15:04

      Falcovrod, it is a fundamental principle of a free society, and has been since Roman times, that a state not deploy its armed forces against its own citizens except in a state of emergency, where the integrity of the state itself is being threatened by its populace. Remember that the nature of their training and equipment is to kill, not to control, subdue or investigate.

      Peter - 2012-01-20 15:10

      @Bardy, brilliantly said. I must add though, that you are talking about the same event, that was declared a 'no-fly' zone, in fear that a plane would crash into the is a "f%#cking joke"!

      procold2 - 2012-01-20 15:11

      @tstander, this might have be true in the past,with the training they get today i dont see them doing to much harm as a viaible force, better than laying in camp doing nothing.

      procold2 - 2012-01-20 15:12

      sorry was meant to be "visable force"

      SarelJBotha - 2012-01-20 15:22

      Rather let them clean up the townships. That service is worth much more to the people.

      Rob - 2012-01-20 15:45

      @tstander - agree 100%

      aardvarkie - 2012-01-20 15:51

      I'm not completely against it either, however they're supposed to be trained killers, they're not trained to deal with civilians and probably don't know what laws they can or can't use... so I'm a tad dubious about it. I would rather see the army used on stings, lock-downs on known criminals, combating poachers, drug syndicates - the big stuff etc.

      Spyker - 2012-01-20 15:58

      I am unfortunately going to be the 'wet rag' here.., There is nothing wrong with the PRINCIPLE of our tax-money being used for its intended purpose (inter alia) - to 'serve and protect' the community (notably those who are in fact paying would be a refreshing bonus). HOWEVER.., This is turning SA into a 'military state' by stealth. What starts off as innocent unarmed/lightly-armed soldiers among (unarmed-, unprotected) civilians, will slowly and stealthily turn into heavier armaments, roadblocks, curfews, manned posts with increasingly heavy weapons... ...and before you know it, we are living under military controlled rule. If you have ever seen what the bullet of a high velocity assault rifle does to a big, well built adult - you will think twice before allowing ANY form of military 'force' into residential areas – with (eg) children. If you put two drunken sailors together you do not get one sober one. If the police cannot do their jobs - FIX THE @#$%^* POLICE..! An army is there to protect a country from an external threat - period. If we think there is no such threat, then dissolve the military and employ more police. BUT do not attempt to make right with two wrongs. The scary reality is that we have an army that is even worse that the police. They will steal, rape and kill before they even consider any civilian responsibility. Let us focus our energies, on getting rid of the Resident Evil - the ANC; then EVERYTHING else will fall in place.

      DanielDennett - 2012-01-20 16:30

      Spyker you are correct in your post furthermore, it lowers the credibility of a country if the military are used instead of the police in civilian matters and it sets a dangerous precedent. To foreign regimes it appears as if we are undergoing civil unrest which cannot be contained using regular policemen. Countries which resort to doing this are generally not democracies.

      Squeegee - 2012-01-20 16:56

      Spyker. Spot on. Add to that the fact that our troops are not very well trained and you are looking for a disaster. People are desperate for a reduction in crime, but we must be careful of what we hope for - it can come back and bite you.

      Riebens - 2012-01-21 12:20

      hi It is totally unlawfull in any country to deploy military personnel to do police work. These are two seperate arms of security and have seperate mandates. Military personnel are not trained in law, criminal process and other legal areas that allows police to uphold the law without breaking it themself. A soldier is taught to kill that which threatens while police are taught ot pacify and defuse situations while protecting lives. @Bardy. IF you want to see a joke, look to our northern neighbours where military personnel has been deployed instead of police forces.

  • Anthony - 2012-01-20 14:53

    What exactly is the problem, do they want to just sit in the base all day watching DSTV and playing PS3. They should earn their salaries, if we are not technically at war with outside forces, there is a war being waged by criminals internally and technically they have to defend the citizens. I've been to a country where the military do the policing, and it was the safest I've felt.

      Hendrik - 2012-01-20 15:02

      In line with basically the sole purpose of any trade union, to try and ensure their members are paid maximum for doing as little as possible, preferably doing NOTHING. This gripe has nothing to do with the constitution, it is all about the "cheek" that they were expected to actually DO something for the food and lodgings and pay they receive.

      Cracker - 2012-01-20 15:34

      @ Hendrik You state it exactly as it is. One must also bear in mind that the trade unions active in the police services will also not like to play second fiddle if it appears that some of the customary police functions can be done by the Defense Force. It weakens the aforesaid and their bargaining powers. This country will go under because of the trade unions and their irresponsible bosses. If needs be the government must simply change the law. The opposition parties will surely support the use of any state or semi/state employee/soldier/wage earner if it is in the interest of the safety of the citizens of this country. One can only imagine how ALL the trade unions from everywhere and in every sector in this country will object and threaten the country if there are efforts to change the law.

  • Piet - 2012-01-20 14:56

    Well are we sure they are capable of doing anything?

      Piet - 2012-01-20 18:05

      Exactly the problem, are they competent?

  • EyesEars - 2012-01-20 14:58

    [was] based on a decade-old open-ended proclamation, by a president not even currently in office. What might this open-ended proclamation be? What do you know that the public don't? Please do tell what rebel group started or who was head hunting who again or who made threats to the president? Instead of the Defense force saving the SA economy money by deploying the soldiers to the boarders, they are in fact again wasting money. How much more people can SA feed? How much more of a joke does the df want to be, and worst, the soldiers are allowing it?

  • Samantha - 2012-01-20 15:05

    i would welcome them in my neighbourhood- let them clean out the ciminals and put them to patrol the game parks to get rid of poachers, - time they earned their keep-

  • Deeteem - 2012-01-20 15:09

    Firstly I have a huge problem with the armed forces having a union and secondly, you joined the armed forces out of choice not like us whities who never had that choice but still defended our country !! Imagine me telling my boss it is unconstitutional for me to do that task !! Bam YOU ARE FIRED !!

      Samantha - 2012-01-20 15:31

      lol, you are too right there!!!-

  • asteyn - 2012-01-20 15:12

    SANDU is a disgrace. No defence force should ever be allowed to be ruled through a union. The union is concerned if soldiers are unlawfully deployed??? Who gave them the jurisdiction to determine the lawfulness of deployments? Thats why we have people in charge of the military - its their JOB! Screw the union. there is no place for a union in the military. Besides - the Army has got nothing to do in any case. Its about time that we put the 122 generals to work!

  • Buzz - 2012-01-20 15:16

    A nations army should not be deployed against the nation it is there to protect. It's good and well to say that they have nothing to do so they may as well double as police. They are however not police. If there is not enough work for soldiers, but enough work for police; let's employ more polcie and less soldiers. Blurring the line between those who are trained to kill and those who are trained to protect is not a good direction to be going in.

      Cheryl - 2012-01-20 15:30

      Ummm Buzz, please help me - which one (Police or army) is trained to kill and which one to protect? However, your point is valid - in an ideal society. However, we currently have criminals declaring war on society, we have a defense force whose union is now afraid they'll have to work for their salary and we have a police force that is overworked. Hmmm... seems like a no-brainer to me.

  • Craig - 2012-01-20 15:24

    I would love to have armed soldiers patrolling my neighbourhood! No more crime :)

  • Rob - 2012-01-20 15:29

    What IDIOT allowed a union in the armed forces? Oh yep, the ANC. Morons. Can you imagine, "...sorry cant do that we might get shot/hurt/injured..." or "...sorry, we are going on strike as we don't want to be physically fit...". SA government - what a joke!!!

      Newsreader - 2012-01-20 15:58

      They are not soldiers. Never have been never will be. Not one of them has earned the right to be called a soldier. Stupid refugees from exile claiming their right to be awarded their positions! That fat pig racist Brig Gen Nontobeko Mpaxa. I would not even employ her as domestic. She will just steal all the sugar! This country needs the stupid ANC to commit themselves to piss a real foreign army off and get a good hiding. Bunch of refugees!!

  • brett.nortje - 2012-01-20 15:30

    With such an uninformed populace it is hardly surprising the country is in the state it is in. I propose a constitutional amendment to qualify the franchise - one must at least have heard we have a Constitution before being allowed to vote!

  • Samantha - 2012-01-20 15:33

    what exactly does the SANDF do???????????- we are not at war, were they deployed to the middle east or something????- am just curious

  • brett.nortje - 2012-01-20 15:37

    On the not-completely-irrational assumption that you lot can read (since you posted here) go read here why those soldiers are deployed against civilians:

  • Errol - 2012-01-20 15:41

    The SANDF is doing a brilliant job under difficult circumstances.

      ruimteseerower - 2012-01-20 15:52

      where are you living in south africa,they even lost against lesoto

      Themba Mathe - 2012-01-20 17:12

      I disagree soldiers are trained for any situation that may arise therefore don't just make noise if are not in army be proud of the SANDF don't critise distructively but be constructive in your criticism.

      Franklyn - 2012-01-21 16:01

      let me tell you,this current "army" of ours wouldnt hold a candle to the conscripts,17-19yr old laaities that were the core of probably the most powerful war machine in Africa at the time,these days they have contractors to fix their barracks....and unions to set operative parameters,wtf ? will the union complain if they have to go to war ?

  • Newsreader - 2012-01-20 15:47

    The Union?? WTF! So you have these fat useless officials telling a senior staff officer that his troops maynot do this and that. Thats the end of an army. Now its sheltered employment. An army is there to defend and protect, not be defended by its own society. What will happen when we do have a war? Is the union going to say its too risky for them? We dont have an army anymore. Its just a bunch of useless unskilled undisiplined idiots. By the way I spent 12 years in the real army. Whne it was given, we obeyed orders!

  • ruimteseerower - 2012-01-20 15:50

    living in a militry country,think more about that,that the streets will be saver yes,under militry law,read up on that,ask those that has been there militry tactics is a lot difirent than those of the police

  • TheWatcher - 2012-01-20 16:00

    Do they have something better to do?

  • Sean - 2012-01-20 16:17

    This probably the best idea I've ever heard of, the police are understaffed and when a plan comes up it is knocked down with some law/s no longer supporting our everyday situation we are facing in real time today. Come on everyone lets put some pressure on these couch potatoes to stop living in the past and to catch up with the times. The armed forces are also paid with our tax money so why not allow them to assist in serving and protecting the communities instead of allowing them to lay around in camp sites picking ticks off each others backs "after a long day's work".

  • mullervince - 2012-01-20 16:32

    I think it's the right decision. With our current understaffed capable police force (65% incapable police officers, we need additional lawkeepers. We are living in a crime invested country, and we need all the support to combat it. If doctors must do a compulsery civilian service, so can all other government employees. And it's the best military training they can get, and will after one month be declared war fit for any circumstance!

  • Shirley - 2012-01-20 16:48

    Well someone has to step up and fight crime-the police certainly are not! Anyway they need some practise-they are overweight and in dire need of some activity other than anc parties.

      Piet - 2012-01-20 18:08


  • lorretdl - 2012-01-20 17:18

    Ag please.... The SANDF is a useless force and will f..k it up. That is why the union fight against it. If we were still living in Roman times this force (farce) would be slaugterd by the people.

  • Ally - 2012-01-20 17:54

    Oh, what irony! Trade unions are partly to blame for the woes of the country. Now a union steps in self-righteously and makes some noise things "unlawful and unconstitutional". Remember when the army was deployed in the suburbs in the 1980s? They were put there to prop up the Nat party and suppress the dissidents. In what way is this similar? Well, the troops are there because the present regime cannot do its job without calling in the troops.It fails at adequate policing (trade unionism partly to blame), its health service collapses (trade unionism partly to blame) ... Go figure!!

  • Piet - 2012-01-20 18:03

    It is unlawful to deploy them. It will increse crime and increase aids

  • Craig - 2012-01-20 19:03

    Only in coutnry in the world to have a Military union.... Going to go on strike when you hit a contact.... Enemy rate of fire above maximum as prescribed by the union. what a load of absolute BS! A crowning reason why the military is in the state it is.

      Newsreader - 2012-01-20 20:27

      Craig - shooes! You cant argue with stupidity! I know you mean well. But we served timed together and today it was all in vain!

      Heinrich - 2012-01-20 21:13

      Craig, I have investigated many valid grievances of our union members in the theatre of war. These grievances include: - Enemy landmines not clearly identified. - Officers commanding not timeously informed of location of enemy landmines. - Enemy attacks during tea breaks, lunch times or smoke breaks. - Enemy personnel wearing camouflaged clothing, making target identification difficult. - Enemy explosions above acceptable db level. Interrupts telephone calls to loved ones. Unnecessarily wakes up commanders. -Enemy fails to advise officers commanding of planned attacks, infringing on our personnel's constitutional right to evade danger. -Enemy cutting off electrical supply during TV transmission of soapies. -Beer trucks arriving late. -Winter temperature falling below the minimum allowed by the union. These people really have a tough time out there. Before they are allowed to operate within a civilian environment, they will have to be de-traumatised de-stressed and de-pressurized.

  • komorison - 2012-01-20 21:18

    You need to take a look at the USA, Obama has recently signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which allows the army to police civilians, arrest, no due process, no court hearing etc and lock them, civilians,away. As someone has already said, it my all look very innocent, but we must be wary, otherwise we could end up in the same boat. Plug NDAA into Google.

  • kleurlingaksie - 2012-01-21 10:20

    Is daar n 'state of emergency' wat ons nie van weet,of is die anc met dystere motieve besig,waarvan jan publiek nie kenis dra! Is dit gemik op die 2014 verkiesing,hens vervroe intimidasie?Is dit Zim-tyd vir ons?

  • sandra.grobler - 2012-01-23 21:17

    Sorry to say but i think they know something that we as public does not know, and covers it up in this way. Strategy people Strategy, that is what they are working toooooo maybe they saw a fortune teller or schycic, sorry for spelling, maybe the time is near.

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