Soldiers protest at Oudtshoorn base

2012-09-19 14:30

Johannesburg - A picket was held outside the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) base in Oudtshoorn on Wednesday, with members of the SA National Defence Union (Sandu) protesting over conditions at the base, the union said.

Spokesperson Pikkie Greeff said the union was holding a peaceful picket because the military had failed to respond to concerns related to "dire management practices" allegedly taking place at the base.

In a statement, he claimed there had been no investigation into recent deaths at the base, or if they had been investigated, the results had not been made public.

In August, a woman recruit committed suicide at the base. At the time Sandu claimed the suicide note made reference to humiliation by base management.

Picket organisers face arrest

SANDF spokesperson Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga criticised the union for "trying to gain popularity [by] using the death of a person".

"I don't know where they got it that this investigation would be made public, or the timeline."

Greeff said the organisers of the picket were threatened with military arrest.

"He [the commanding officer] has even taken the ridiculous step of unlawfully ordering all members at his base that they are prohibited from attending any Sandu meeting outside working hours and outside the military base...

"By issuing these illegal orders and clamping down with power abuse on constitutional rights, Sandu's complaints about the Oudtshoorn base [are] simply being justified."

Mabanga said any threat to security at an SANDF base would be dealt with.

"If anybody comes close to any SANDF institution to picket or toyi-toyi we will deal with those issues."

Bound by the rules

He warned soldiers not to allow themselves to be misled.

"They themselves volunteered to join the SANDF, and when they joined they committed themselves to the rules that govern the SANDF members."

These were the Constitution, the Defence Act, the Military Supplementary Discipline Matters Act, and the Code of Conduct.

They were also bound by any other department of defence policy, as well as the SANDF's directives and instructions.

"Taking into consideration the social and economic situation in South Africa and the high rate of unemployment, [there are] people - individuals and unions - trying to gain popularity... and trying to mislead South Africans.
"People must not try to incite or mobilise [soldiers] or undermine military discipline and the authority of the SANDF."

Last Wednesday, expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema met with around 60 soldiers at the Lenasia Recreation Centre in Johannesburg.

There he criticised the country's political leadership and accused them of ignoring the needs of SANDF members, including not reinstating the hundreds of soldiers put on special leave for protesting at the Union Buildings in 2009.

  • Don.Tandy - 2012-09-19 14:41

    Do we have a chicken-s**t army?

      raymond.romans.5 - 2012-09-19 14:56

      We don't have an army. It's an aids clinic. A big one.

      squeegee.pilot - 2012-09-19 15:08

      Is Malema on his way?

      sebenza.vanrooy - 2012-09-19 15:11

      Ya xali inkatazo

      procold2 - 2012-09-19 15:26

      spot on airborne, i sure we would lose even if zim invaded us, where in the world do army toi toi and strike, luv sa but dont think under this gov is anything ever going to come right

      jason.children - 2012-09-19 16:32

      God help us if we ever have a serious conflict to face or respond to. Shameful.......just another example of how the ANC government has failed this country!

      rontheogre - 2012-09-19 16:56

      I pity the soldiers that really want to do the job. It looks like their fellow soldiers are a greater threat to them than any potential enemy's bullets. I used to drive through Thaba Tshwane (Voortrekkerhoogte) military base on a regular basis to take my pensioner parents to hospital, and now to Wynberg Military base in CT. All I can say is SLAPGAT. The pavements are overgrown, buildings dilapidated, members wearing their own interpretation of modern military high fashion (remember air force officer in shopping centre with pink furry slippers!!!!), wearing what passes as uniforms that were filthy, little or no discipline, vehicles falling apart, shocking conditions and lack of medical EVERYTHING in the hospitals, totally clueless medical personnel, broken and damaged equipment to the value of Billions just standing around(submarines, ships, planes and tanks included), military equipment being sold off at the back gates, you name it. Twenty years ago a soldier was happy if he could sleep under a threadbare blanket or in his sleeping bag in the barracks, today they want duvets, carpets and heaters to make them tough. They will fight the enemy with bad breath, body odour and handbags. Our military is a shadow of what it was and an embarrassment to the nation.

      kala.bafazi - 2012-09-19 17:21

      Hear hear Ronald!!!!!!

  • Mathaithai - 2012-09-19 14:46

    Go Malema, go! Do'nt miss out to get a bullet!!!!!!!!

  • hamish.drake1 - 2012-09-19 14:47

    Here is the problem with this SANDF as opposed to the SADF. The use of the word "management" and the phrase "outside working hours". It is not a f*cking job, it is a calling. If you didn't want to be in the military, then buy yourself out and p!ss off. If we are ever invaded, I suggest all citizens pull out the 9mm, cause the SANDF is going strike about danger pay.

  • robbie.crouch - 2012-09-19 14:55

    So, when you join the SANDF you loose all Constitutional rights? All laws and regulations have to adhere to the Constitution Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga!!!!

      hamish.drake1 - 2012-09-19 15:03

      Actually, to an extent you do Robbie. In the old SADF, you could not vote, you were subject the military law (not civilian). Complaining about "humiliation" got you more humiliation. You were effectivly state "property".

      evan.connock - 2012-09-19 15:53

      Essentially you did lose our rights, truth be told, the average conscript just out of school was for the most part ignorant of his rights. If you tried to stand up to the NCO's about something you believed was your right, invariably you would be singled out and victimized, so you didn't. My own thinking is that when you sign up to become a 'professional' soldier you sign away your civil rights. This is why the military has it's own law and rules. If you want to be there, you must live by the rules that apply.

      DuToitCoetzee - 2012-09-19 16:12

      @hamish. I cant talk for this incident, but even in the old SADF the soldiers march out of 8SAI(Upington) in late 70's begin 80"s as one because of bad conditions. No-one was listening to them. No-one was caring. Then they suddenly react and revamp the camp.

      kala.bafazi - 2012-09-19 17:24

      If I'm not mistaken, a soldier cannot face a civilian court even for murder. He has to found guilty in a military court, dishonourably discharged and then only appear before a civilian court.

      ATTIEBEKKERSNR - 2013-08-09 15:39


  • Badger - 2012-09-19 15:01

    ".....Yaaawwwwnnnn..." "NEXT" ????

  • mark.haupt.31 - 2012-09-19 15:04

    I would have thought that all who can walk & talk at the same time would be on a peacekeeping mission somewhere.

  • BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-09-19 15:10

    Soldiers are protesting? Laughing stock of the world we already are, and now we have this. I obviously come from a different planet.

      kala.bafazi - 2012-09-19 17:26

      Well recent pictures from NASA's Curiousity Rover, shows no sign of Supersport, Beer or Porn which suggests men are not from Mars.

  • glen.e.huysamer - 2012-09-19 15:18

    Blame Malema, the army is actually marching for a change.

      steve.ritchie.739 - 2012-09-19 15:41

      Nice pun Glen.

  • roger.kaputnick.90 - 2012-09-19 15:26

    Here's a news is not ment to be a holiday camp. Suck it up you pussies.

  • tsndou - 2012-09-19 15:41

    Chickens have come home to roost. These are the outcome of the Polokwane Conference.

  • henk.venter.754 - 2012-09-19 15:42

    military discipline? what military discipline///

  • lenox.ntlantsana - 2012-09-19 15:46

    Is it now as a result of Malema wanted to insite or did he already did so? Where there's smoke there's fire!

  • LouisBok - 2012-09-19 15:46

    You are learning the big truth now:Respect is earned,not forced upon,not through numbers,not through intimidation. Lead,respect,be an example-then only then will you be acknowledged.

  • lenox.ntlantsana - 2012-09-19 15:46

    Is it now as a result of Malema wanted to insite or did he already did so? Where there's smoke there's fire!

  • evan.connock - 2012-09-19 15:47

    Back in the 80's Oudshoorn was one of the best Infanty training establishments in the then SADF. While tragic, suicide and the military are foreign to each other, many national servicemen tried to or succeeded in taking their own lives. This article makes one wonder what has happened to what was once a proud and effective military. Seems it's all just a joke now, no discipline, and very little tenacity. one can only wonder what might have happened in the 80's if troops had demonstrated outside a base... I shudder to think.

      evan.connock - 2012-09-19 15:54

      Meant NOT foreign

  • neo.motsepe - 2012-09-19 15:55

    Malema be given a break.

  • ken.koen - 2012-09-19 16:12

    These are not soldiers backsides. This country no longer knows what a soldier is. The army now has riff raff employees, not soldiers

  • barengkm - 2012-09-19 16:26

    The life of people need to be improved,we can't go and abuse the rights of someone because is soldier,no

  • craig.bennetts.9 - 2012-09-19 16:31

    Funny thing is when I was in the Army it was'nt a holiday camp.I'm missing something here!!

  • whmarais - 2012-09-19 16:34

    What defence force? We don't have one, unless you are referring to the knuckle dragging low browed armed thugs that currently pose as soldiers. We have BEE pilots in the Airforce crashing planes and helicopters left right and center. The army vehicles are used as personal transport and jolling vehicles. Our navy is rusting in the harbours because the BEE sailors don't have the training or experience and always get seasick (what is a Sotho doing in a naval vessel? They aren't sea people. Why not Capetonians and Coloureds; they are natural born sailors). To put it short if our country was ever threatened by war we would lose hands down. At least the previous government's army (all forced into pension or disbanded) could fight. The current so called defence force is just a holiday inn for people too useless and unskilled to get a real job. All true soldiers who have seen action in actual wars (not "freedom fighters" or "war veterans"); know the difference between a maggot in uniform and a real soldier (trained and good at what soldiers do).

      rontheogre - 2012-09-19 17:10

      My wife and I were driving though Gordon's Bay a while ago while 3 Navy ships were doing "exercises" or something. There were a few heart stopping moments when two of them came very close to T-boning each other. Scary and hilarious at the same time, and have the pics to prove it. Looking at them now, dated 3 November 2010, 9:30 AM.

      glen.e.huysamer - 2012-09-19 17:19

      You forget to mention the three sailing stooges who wrecked the multi-billion rand submarine fleet which is now beautifying Simons Town Docks.... talk about comedy of could laugh and yes some do......but what an expensive joke.......and joke it is. 1st Sub was plugged in incorrectly to the dockside which managed to blow all the batteries. (No budget to repair, and no knowledge on how to repair) 2nd Sub was sailed into the wharf, causing structural damage (result same as above...but worse, it is unclear if it can be repaired at all. 3rd Sub was just recently sailed into the ocean floor (result.....unknown) All three subs sitting like ducks, lord only knows what the crew are up to, maybe fishing from the end of Simons Town naval pier?????

      rontheogre - 2012-09-19 18:16

      The thumbs down must have been from one of the guys steering the boat!

  • vivian.harris.73 - 2012-09-19 17:09

    They might as well carry on protesting....they not doing anything anyways and we not using them...not really sure why we have them.

  • allan.grant.142 - 2012-09-19 17:10

    I went to infantry school Oudtshoorn and I don't think it was ever a place for the weak,lame or lazy in fact best infantry training center in sa and now they moan because of a bit of abuse then I think you bunch of rubbish misfits should rather look for a career in an Other field

      Idille Borchers - 2013-08-09 11:10

      Whatever, I do think every soldier has a right to have sufficient and appropriate clothing for prevailing weather conditions.

      Idille Borchers - 2013-08-09 11:12

      The clothing budget was probably exceeded on over-sized kit for all the generals.

  • owennev - 2012-09-19 17:11

    poor managemnt result to exposure,

  • ingrid.k.duplessis - 2012-09-19 17:25

    If the soldiers in a country are unhappy, it is time to worry....especially in Africa....

  • 4man1 - 2012-09-19 17:33

    To have a Union in an army is laughable. What happens when we go to the soldiers go on strike when the going gets tough...well they will be over run is my prediction. I hope it never comes to that. There is the Military Disciplinary Code which deals with every kind of imaginable problem that a soldier can face. If a soldier has been maligned, insulted whatever....they can go the \redress of wrongs\ route. They might not get their way on the insult thing for example (If officers and NCO's cannot discipline soldiers by putting the fear of God into them when they are training....they are not doing their job properly). Court Martial the lot of them I say...ban the Union and tell the politicians to stick to what they know and leave the defence force alone.

  • graham.almond.56 - 2013-02-15 15:26

    when I was in the good old SADF,we had instances where conditions were bad,we complained to our NCO,who bumped it up the line.It was in his own interest to correct some situations otherwise he would be trying to lead demoralised troops in a combat situation.As I see it is is a problem with the officers and NCO's,who need to look after their troops by engaging the senior officers.There is always a chain of command but seems to me that is is broken here

  • ATTIEBEKKERSNR - 2013-08-09 15:25

    Yes. mr pikkie greeff. making your bucks out of the misery and or any mistake by the SANDF, intentional or non intentional. the outcome cause of death and ,and was already decided by you and your mickey mouse union. I realy think that you might know law well but not the Constitution, because in the Chapter on Defence it is clearly stated that during training some of your(A MEMBER') constitutional(human) rights are restricted. Pikkie why dont you and Erika Gibson write articles one day about your careers in the SANDF.I think as a law officer and an air force admin girl neither you nor Erika Gibson really know what is cooking in a defence force . Its just your bread and butter to take disgruntled members complaints and blow it up

  • ATTIEBEKKERSNR - 2013-08-09 15:33

    As for the rest of the comments, they are not worth to comment on , in the then OLD days 4 soldiers died in 2 years at School of Infantry and really guys I had a company in Thokoza which I would prefer 100% above a company in the then Infantry school. Fitnessis not a guarantee for no fear. I will never forget the brave company I had in Thokoza in 1994 never

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