To The Minister Of Defence And Military Veterans.

2013-11-18 18:12

To: The Minister Of Defence And Military Veterans.

Monday 18 November 2013.

Honourable Minister.

I write to you today with great concern, as an ex-soldier (from January 2007- October 2012) previously under your command, and as a very concerned citizen of our democratic republic. I am writing this out of my own free will and have not been instructed or

coerced to do so by anyone. My conscience is the only thing that has prompted me write to you.

I'd like to start by quoting the Constitution of our beloved country.

CH 2 (the bill of rights) section 17:

"Everyone has the right, peacefully and unarmed, to assemble, to

demonstrate, to picket and to present petitions."

Everyone. It does not say everyone BUT soldiers. It says everyone.

In 2009 I watched as my fellow comrades in arms were shot at with rubber

bullets, some at point blank range in the face, because they were protesting

for better conditions and better salaries in the SANDF. I watched as the

entrance to the Union Buildings was sealed off by SAPS members,  resulting

in my fellow comrades-in-arms running away in fear for their lives as the

police were pumping shotgun rounds into them. The policemen advanced to such

an extent that many soldiers were trampling on one another to get over the

fence and onto the road.

They did not storm the Union Buildings as was claimed. If they had really

wanted to, I know for a fact they would not have done it 800m from the

entrance and from the lawn. Instead, they would have entered at the top entrance which is

strategically a more viable option.

Section 35(3)(h) of the Bill of Rights states:

"Every accused person has a right to a fair trial, which includes the right

to be presumed innocent, to remain silent, and not to testify during the

proceedings."

To date there is not one shred of evidence which indicates that any one of

the accused in this case was involved in public violence. I have not seen

any proof of soldiers destroying property or being violent in any way. There

isn't a video or a photograph showing anyone's face clearly. The public

disturbance could have been committed by anyone. If this is the case, and no

proof can be shown to these soldiers. why have tax payers paid R350 + million

in pay and benefits for soldiers sitting at home idly and frustrated to no

end, the waste actually being trained soldiers not being utilised to their full potential. And then there are the numerous court cases that the SANDF have lost, with costs, in recent times. There are defamation cases and unfair dismissal cases, all lost by the SANDF. This is getting very expensive, and I honestly believe it is a waste of taxpayers' money.

Honourable Minister, the legal advisors you have in this (Union Buildings)

case are failing you. They are making money and using you and the State to

line their pockets. To be quite honest, after four years of legal battles,

the only ones benefiting here are the SANDF appointed lawyers and legal advisors.

I believe you are also being grossly misled by General Shoke. Many

potentially embarrassing situations can be avoided if you would just refrain

from taking advice from your management and legal team that say they have the best interests of the force at heart. They are letting you down and are pulling the wool over your eyes, in not only the union buildings case, but many others as well. I know for a fact that there are issues that you are not being made aware of at all.

I would like to ask you to reconsider your stance on the soldiers who are on

special leave and who were involved in the Union Buildings Protest of 2009.

They are citizens, volunteers, former liberation fighters, tax payers,

voters, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers, who only wanted better working

conditions and better salaries for themselves and their colleagues. They

just want to go back to work and do the job that they were trained for.

Please also consider their families who depend on them for everything and

whose lives will be destroyed if they lose their work.

As we speak, somewhere in the Kruger National Park and in other game

reserves in the country, there are Rhino that have been shot for their horn.

As of 19 September 2013 an average of 18.6 rhino had been killed each week

in South Africa. There are soldiers sitting at home who could be deployed to

prevent this. I can almost guarantee that they will make a difference in

protecting this species, which is on the verge of extinction. You,

honourable minister, are in a position to put an end to this terrible

carnage .

I don't expect you to take my advice or listen to my plea, but I really hope

that you do. I believe you have the power to restore the SANDF to a force

that all in South Africa can be proud of, as I am and have always been. I

have written articles on our soldiers and I hope that you will read them.

They can be found here:

http://voices.news24.com/author/tim-flack/

Thank you for reading this. I look forward to your favourable response.

Regards

Tim Flack

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