The wrong enemy: SANDF finds members illegally raided KZN residents’ homes

2019-11-29 08:55
Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. (Deaan Vivier, Netwerk24)

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An investigation by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) found that its members conducted illegal house raids and searches in Pongolo, KwaZulu-Natal.

This led to members of the community laying charges of illegal conduct, theft and assault against the soldiers involved, Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula responded to a written parliamentary question by DA MP Maliyakhe Shelembe.

Shelembe asked whether she has been informed of the complaint against the members of the SANDF by members of the community at Phongolo in KwaZulu-Natal, if so, what action she intends to take and whether she intends to institute an internal investigation.

"The SANDF received a report of complaints from some community members of Phongolo in KZN with allegations of illegal house raids and searches that were conducted by members of the SANDF," Mapisa-Nqakula responded.

"The allegations' central issue was the fact that the SANDF conducted the house raids illegally without the SAPS and or search warrants and are also alleged to have ill-treated some community members during the raids. The affected community members opened criminal cases at the local police station and laid charges of illegal conduct, theft and assault by these SANDF members."

She said the SANDF duly responded by conducting an internal investigation and verifying allegations and complaints from residents.

"The internal investigation found the allegations to be true and the complaints of the community members to be genuine."

She said the SANDF will allow the legal process to take its course as per the criminal cases currently in the hands of the police.

"The SANDF has already commenced with the internal military disciplinary processes on those involved and those found responsible will be dealt with accordingly and to ensure that such unbecoming conduct does not happen again," she said.

Mapisa-Nqakula said she and the SANDF "unreservedly condemns this unbecoming conduct by these members and condemns it in the strongest terms".

"This is not how we conduct our business and, we as the organisation charged with the responsibility to protect and defend the people of South Africa, tender our sincere apologies to the affected community members as well as to the entire community of the area of Pongola," she said.

"We can assure the citizens of this country that the SANDF members deployed to conduct operations are given the necessary training on all aspects relevant to their tasks during the conduct of operations.

"Furthermore, continuous training is conducted on the conduct and discipline expected of all members of the SANDF. We will not allow a few members to tarnish the good work done by the bulk of our dedicated and disciplined members." 

Mapisa-Nqakula directed the chief of the SANDF, General Solly Shoke, to ensure that effective disciplinary actions are undertaken against those found to have been responsible. Furthermore, Shoke must ensure that effective measures are put in place to prevent similar incidents in future, Mapisa-Nqakula said.

Read more on:    sandf  |  nosiviwe mapisa-nqakula  |  parliament  |  crime
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