MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION
SANDU HQ, Pretoria, Wednesday, 28 June 2017

REACTION TO THE DEFENCE FORCE SERVICE COMMISSION'S RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING SANDF SALARY ADJUSTMENTS

The South African National Defence Force Union (SANDU) has taken note of the latest recommendations by the Defence Force Service Commission (DFSC) regarding salary adjustments for members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). 

The DFSC correctly points out in its report that, due to the fact that the salaries of SANDF members are directly linked to the ranks they hold, stagnation in salary occurs and that thousands of members are affected by this phenomenon. Thousands of SANDF members have been 'trapped' in the pay scales of their ranks due to non-promotion, to the extent that they continue to lag in their pay scales for a period of anything between 5 to 25 years. SANDU's demand has always been that, in order to cure the situation, rank and pay should be de-linked.  This demand was already raised by SANDU as far back as 2005 at the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for Defence, who rejected it. In addition, the Department of Defence steadfastly refused to concede the matter which then morphed into one of the reasons for the well-known 2009 protest march at the Union Buildings. 

The gist of the recommendations by the DFSC is that the salaries of military personnel, who have 15 years or more continuous service in one rank, should be adjusted to a salary level of the next military rank's pay scale. The only motivation for the limitation of this recommendation to this category of SANDF members seems to be that the DFSC had a set budget from which it was compelled to tailor-make some sort of restitutionary recommendation. Ironically, the DFSC has operated the past 4 years on a R32m budget, only to inform soldiers that there are fiscal constraints (to a limit of R84m) to extensive salary improvements.

The recommendation is unfair and unequal to the thousands of members trapped in the cycle of pay stagnation between their 4th and 14th year in their ranks, and who experience exactly the same prejudice in pay and pension as the category singled out for restitution by the DFSC. The DFSC can neither offer a cogent explanation as to how it arrived at the 15 year criteria nor how it arrived at what would constitute affordability in making the recommendation. The DFSC can also not explain why SANDU, and thus thousands of SANDF members directly affected in this matter, have been ignored. Clearly the recommendation as well as the process by which it was arrived at, is arbitrary, unilateral, unlawfully discriminatory and unfair. 

The DFSC has recklessly disregarded the legal requirements incumbent upon it, in that it has failed to engage with SANDU as a legitimate interested party despite the Defence Act clearly requiring the DFSC to do so. In this failure it has also acted unlawfully in bypassing the legitimate representatives of unionised soldiers in the SANDF, the impermissibility of which is trite law in South Africa through legal precedent.

Unsurprisingly, SANDU has been inundated with furious reaction from the rank and file of the SANDF members who have been disregarded by the DFSC and severely demoralised by the DFSC's unfair conduct. Ironically, the DFSC was originally created in an attempt to curb SANDF members' dissatisfaction with pay and conditions of service. The latest recommendation and conduct of the DFSC has had the exact opposite effect. It now stands accused in he eyes of thousands of soldiers as a puppet of the Department of Defence, constrained by its master into contriving badly constructed so-called solutions to serious pay questions of soldiers while completely ignoring the constitutional rights of those soldiers to representation by their unions. A DFSC beholden to the authority of the Department of Defence, which it is expected to advise independently, lacks all credibility. The only thing achieved by the DFSC’s reckless behaviour is to raise the collective wrath of ordinary soldiers, thus impeding the effective functioning of the SANDF through demoralisation.

The fact is that SANDF members are still worse off in terms of the way their pay scales versus rank operates in comparison to the rest of the Public Service and more particularly the SAPS. Yet, the SANDF is always the first to be called when the SAPS, almost 3 times the size of the SANDF, fails to perform its functions properly. There exists absolutely no reason why SANDF members should be worse off than the SAPS as far as pay progression and scales are concerned.

In this regard SANDU notes that the DFSC also recommends that a new pay dispensation for the SANDF be introduced within the next 24 months. SANDU will direct its lawyers to demand from the DFSC an undertaking to engage SANDU in such a process, failing which SANDU will take the requisite legal action against the DFSC. SANDU will also demand from the Minister of Defence that she complies with previous court orders in favour of SANDU, to at the very least consult with us prior to determining the salaries and conditions of service of SANDF members and comply with a constitutional court order to establish the Military Arbitration Board where pay and service disputes are supposed to be adjudicated. Should the Minister fail to adhere to such demands, SANDU will not hesitate to take the appropriate legal action.

ADV. JG (PIKKIE) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION
SANDU HQ, Pretoria, Thursday, 23 March 2017

THE MINISTERIAL REPLY REGARDING THE SANDF INTIMIDATION & DUMPING OF FURNITURE AT NELSON MANDELA BAY METRO OFFICES

SANDU has noted the reply by Defence Minister Mapisa-Nqakula to the parliamentary question relating to the above matter.

The Minister’s reply reveals distortions of fact by the Minister as well as acts of criminality by members of the SANDF.

The first distortion is that the furniture dump was pursuant to an eviction. The fact is that the eviction in question was overturned for unlawfulness by the Eastern Cape High Court days later. By omitting this fact the Minister is distorting the truth.

Secondly, the Minister’s version that the evictee requested the furniture to be dumped at the municipal offices is a blatant misstatement of fact. The evictee never made such a request and the fact that the High Court ordered the return of the furniture to the evictee’s house bears this out. 

Thirdly, the Minister’s suggestion that the soldiers involved in the eviction were armed as per “army doctrine” is equally untruthful.

The fact is that there is no so-called army doctrine governing evictions from army quarters and certainly none which involves using soldiers, armed or unarmed, to affect same. The SANDF is subject to the same laws governing evictions as every other South African and the fact that the Minister apparently attempts to deny this is absolutely disgraceful.

On the Minister’s own version in her reply, at least 4 crimes were committed by members of the SANDF during this entire fiasco:

  • The fact that the Officer Commanding, one Col Pakhati, ordered the unlawful eviction, the illegal dumping of the furniture, and armed the soldiers under his command for the purposes of carrying out his orders, amounts to a clear transgression of the Intimidation Act 72 of 1982.
  • The facts that the SANDF trespassed on Municipal property and illegally dumped the furniture are crimes in themselves.
  • The Minister’s apparent attempt at justifying the ramming of a municipal vehicle by a military truck is a blatant disregard for the fact that a crime of malicious damage to property was committed.
  • The overall intimidating attitude and demeanour displayed by armed SANDF members in public and at the Municipal Offices, is yet another transgression of the Intimidation Act 72 of 1982.

The response by the Minister displays a shocking inability on her part to grasp the grave implications of state authority, and in particular Military authority, using armed intimidation against the civilian society.  The Minister is in fact, by her ill-advised response, shamefully protecting thuggery under the guise of military authority.

SANDU demands that the SANDF immediately suspends Col Pakhati, the Officer Commanding involved, pending the finalisation of the ongoing SAPS investigation.

SANDU awaits the outcome of same investigation and vows to ensure that the Officer Commanding will be charged and prosecuted, along with whoever engaged in acts of intimidation.    

 Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION
SANDU HQ, Pretoria, Tuesday, 24 May 2016

SANDU‘s REACTION TO THE SANDF’s RECALL TO DUTY OF THE “UNION BUILDINGS” MEMBERS ON SPECIAL LEAVE

SANDU welcomes the massive climb-down by the chief of the SANDF, on recalling to duty the so-called special leave members from the 2009 Union Buildings incident.

SANDU's lawyers demanded the recalling of the members last week. Therefore, fact that the SANDF chose to ignore the legal correspondence in this matter, speaks volumes about the integrity of the SANDF management.

The fact is that, the SANDF under General Shoke, had for 80 months perpetuated an unlawful and malicious campaign of attempts to fire the soldiers. Twice, the SANDF lost in the SCA. In sheer desperation, the SANDF refused to trial these soldiers in a military court, as the rights of every soldiers dictates.

SANDU had always demanded a military trial, which the Ministry had consistently refused to consent to. Apparently fair trials and constitutional rights are not that important to SA government officials.

We salute all our special leave members.

We also demand that:

Shoke apologises to all special leave members and their families;
Shoke apologises to South Africa for spending R570m of taxpayers' money on this aborted attempt at saving political face;
And third, that Shoke tenders his resignation with immediate effect.

This complete climb-down by the SANDF simply justifies the 561 members bringing a massive law suit against the SANDF.

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION
SANDU HQ, Pretoria, Tuesday, 26 April 2016

SA NATIONAL DEFENCE FORCE LOSES 3RD ATTEMPT TO ACT AGAINST UNION BUILDINGS SOLDIERS, OUTSIDE OF THE CONSTITUTION

On 25 April 2016 a disciplinary tribunal ruled in favour of SANDU, finding that the SANDF does not have the right to attempt to hold disciplinary hearings outside of the military justice system's courts.

After previously suffering two legal defeats in the SCA for attempting to dismiss, without any hearing, soldiers accused of misconduct at the Union Buildings in 2009, and having forfeited the 3-year period it had to trial those members in a military court, the SANDF decided to subject the soldiers to a disciplinary hearing similar to that in the civilian world, presided over by retired Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo.

During the proceedings, SANDU objected successfully that the SANDF had no constitutional and legal right to evade its own military court system, entrenched in law and designed to ensure swift military discipline.

The fact is that, had the SANDF, from the very start in 2009, simply used their own military courts to trial the affected soldiers, the matter would long since have been put to rest. Instead, the SANDF took poor legal advice and lost twice in the SCA, both times attempting to fire soldiers without a hearing.

All the while, over 500 soldiers have been kept on so called 'special leave' at home, with full benefits, for the past 6 years and 7 months, at a total cost of R560m in salary, while the SANDF attempted to implement its poor legal decision making. The entire matter has become a national embarrassment for government and the military command.

SANDU demands that its members on special leave be returned to their bases and units, to start serving South Africa again. This union will not hesitate to enforce this demand through an order of court.

SANDU also vows to take legal action by suing the SANDF for career stagnation of the affected members.

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

[Download the ruling HERE in PDF file format]

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION
SANDU HQ, Pretoria, Friday, 1 April 2016

REACTION TO THE 31 MARCH 2016 RULING BY THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT REGARDING VIOLATION OF THE SA CONSTITUTION BY PRESIDENT ZUMA AND PARLIAMENT

SANDU has taken note of the finding by the Constitutional Court inter alia judging President Zuma and the parliament of SA as being in violation of their constitutional duties in the Nkandla matter.

It is in SANDU’s opinion absolutely despicable that the President, as Commander in Chief of the SANDF, has transgressed the very Constitution which the Defence Force over which he holds command, is constitutionally charged with upholding.

It is equally rejectionable that parliament, which is charged with overseeing that the SANDF upholds the Constitution, has aided and abetted the President in this unlawful deed which represents a complete sell out of the values of a constitutional democracy.

Given the ruling made, the President can no longer be considered a fit and proper person to remain the Commander in Chief of the SANDF, nor can any of the parliamentary members who so stubbornly protected him in his questionable endevours against the Public Protector’s findings, be considered fit and proper persons to hold office as members of parliament.

Any reliance on the excuse of so called bad legal advice is without any credibility especially as the same people who in the Nkandla matter accepted the bad advice that the PP findings are non- binding, in many other matters implemented the PP’s findings as if bounded thereby. These are also the same people, who, for 2 years were told publicly by various legal experts that their advice and stance was unlawful and wrong in law in the Nkandla matter and then went even further to back a embarresingly false and fraudulent report.

How can those with unconstitutional dirt on their hands be expected to further oversee and or command the SANDF with integrity or any inkling of moral standing?

SANDU, in the circumstances, calls on the Commander in Chief to be removed from his post and the parliamentary members to resign. SANDU supports any call for mass action and any other lawful means to remove President Zuma from office. This is not a political stance, but a moral and constitutional stance in support of our constitutional democratic values of the rule of law.

SANDU encourages all members of society, including soldiers to participate in their private capacity and time in any lawful mass action campaigns which might be called to the end of lawfully recalling and or removing President Zuma from office.

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION
SANDU HQ, Pretoria, Wednesday, 28 October 2015

SANDU REJECTS UNLAWFUL ATTEMPTS BY SANDF TO UNFAIRLY DISMISS REPATRIATED SOLDIERS

Several soldiers, recently repatriated from their deployment duties in the Democratic Republic of Congo, have reported to SANDU that the SANDF management have issued them with notices, informing them that they have until 5 November 2015 to provide the Minister of Defence with reasons as to why they should not be dismissed from the SANDF. The same notices allege that the soldiers breached a curfew and were absent from their base without leave.

SANDU rejects this method of addressing the issue with the implicated soldiers as it is in flagrant disregard of the military legislation dealing with matters of military discipline and of the Constitution of the Republic of SA. SANDF members, who are alleged to have committed disciplinary breaches, are entitled, by law, to a fair trial by a military court and the SANDF is also by law obliged to prosecute any disciplinary breach for which it has prima facie evidence.

 The fact of the matter is that the Minister of Defence has, however, failed since April 2015 to discharge her statutory obligation of appointing military judges which has led to a total breakdown in the military justice system. It is on the back of this failure that the SANDF management now attempts to induce kangaroo justice upon soldiers, who are constitutionally entitled to equality before the law as is the case with any other citizen in South Africa.  

To add insult to injury, since 2012 the same SANDF management has twice lost (at tax payers’ expense) cases in the Supreme Court of Appeal after similar attempts at dismissing soldiers without the benefit of a fair hearing or trial.

SANDU has, to date, received instruction from 15 soldiers to defend their rights in this matter and all affected soldiers are urged to seek SANDU’s protection. SANDU has already referred this matter to attorneys who will engage the SANDF on halting this unlawful process and ensuring the job security of the soldiers, while also ensuring that any disciplinary measures are subject to, and in compliance with, the applicable legislation ensuring a fair trial.     

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION
SANDU HQ, Pretoria, Friday, 28 August 2015

SANDU DENOUNCES GOVERNMENT’S OBFUSCATION OF FACTS RE. PRIVATE AIRCRAFT CHARTER FOR THE DEPUTY PRESIDENT


The South African National Defence Union denounces the obfuscation of facts, forthcoming from government circles, surrounding the chartering of a private aircraft to transport Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to Japan.

Procedures surrounding the procurement of such a charter include that:

1. Several aircraft options are sourced by the SA Air Force from contracted service providers, inclusive of the costs of aircraft already vetted in accordance with the existing Treasury contract;

2. Should an aircraft, which is not on the original list of vetted aircraft, be suggested by a service provider, same is pointed out to the presidency by the SA Air Force.

3. Stringent security vetting is then performed by the security services of the Presidency on such aircraft, including of its ownership which is sourced from the service provider.

Thus, there is no room for plausible deniability by the Presidency or Government as to the identity of the ownership of such an aircraft.  The Defence Minister‘s contention, today, that the ownership is never disclosed, is plainly incorrect.

The entire procurement process is, however, shrouded in a veil of secrecy, preventing full disclosure of which other options were available to the Presidency in electing a specific choice from the available options, and what the comparative costs of the different options were. Also shrouded in secrecy, is the rationale behind the Presidency exercising a particular choice of aircraft. 

The fact is that the Ministry chooses to steer away from these issues and expects the public to accept decisions which, on face value, represent conflicting interests and nepotism, without it actually bothering to show the contrary through proper and full disclosure of procedure and documentation.

In the meantime R5m of the already depleted SAAF budget is being spent on private profiteering while the SAAF is in dire need of money to maintain full functionality.

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION
SANDU HQ, Pretoria, Thursday, 23 July 2015

 

REPORTS THAT THE SAMHS SICKBAY AT NKANDLA IS NOW OPERATIONAL

 

SANDU welcomes the announcement by Brig Gen Shezi  of the South African Medical Health Services regarding the new sickbay, opened at Nkandla.

SANDU calls on all its members and their families, who reside in the vicinity of Nkandla, to make ample use of this new top grade facility with immediate effect.

Soldiers and their families are encouraged to report to Nkandla for health-related issues instead of traveling all the way to Durban or Ladysmith.

SANDU is concerned about press reports that the Sick Bay is not functional. However, seeing that it is a military medical facility, we encourage members to report to the sickbay at Nkandla, nevertheless.

Should there be any refusal/failure to treat soldiers and/or their dependents, as provided for in the Defence Act 42 of 2002, SANDU will take the necessary legal action to compel the SAMHS to provide medical services at the Nkandla sickbay.

 

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION
SANDU Western Cape Branch HQ, Cape Town, Tuesday, 14 July 2015

 

REPORTS THAT FLAG OFFICER FLEET HAS UNLAWFULLY CHANGED THE NAME OF THE HISTORIC BELMONT HOUSE TO CHRIS HANI HOUSE


SANDU has taken note of media reports that Flag Office Fleet, Rear Admiral Bravo Mahlana, has taken it upon himself to rename the historic Belmont House, his official military accommodation, by sanding the name “Belmont” off the pillars, thereby defacing state property without authority, and replacing the name with brass letters which read "Chris Hani House".

This is a blatant disregard by a Flag Officer of the South African Navy for the Defence Act and such unlawful actions will not be tolerated.

The Defence Act of 2002 states, inter alia, that:
7) No member of the Regular Force may-
(a) further or prejudice the political interest of any political party in the performance of his or her functions;
(b) be politically partisan, or express any party-political allegiance, in the performance of his or her functions.

SANDU cannot stand back and allow a flouting of the law by any member of the SANDF. Whilst we recognise Chris Hani as a great man who played a very important role in South African politics, leading up to his untimely death, the fact remains that he was a member of the Communist Party of South Africa and the African National Congress. It is difficult to see how this is not an endorsement of a political party or parties by Admiral Mahlana. 

SANDU would like to know why other admirals and senior officers allowing this to happen? Are there no true leaders in the defence force who have the backbone to act against such acts of law breaking?

Any member or employee of the Defence Department who, in a wilful or negligent manner, contravenes, or fails to comply with, any regulation made under the Defence Act, is guilty of an offence and liable, on conviction, to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year.
The Western Cape Office of SANDU will be laying charges against Admiral Mahlana for breaking the law. 

Tim Flack
WESTERN CAPE ORGANISER: SANDU

 

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION
SANDU HQ, Pretoria, Tuesday, 16 June 2015

REPORTS THAT THE NATIONAL SECRETARY OF SANDU HAD BEEN IN CONTACT WITH SANDF TROOPS IN THE SUDAN

SANDU has taken note of a report by Netwerk24, published after 12pm today, alleging that SA troops were “held hostage” by the Sudanese military while the court case to arrest President Al-Bashir of Sudan was underway.

SANDU has also taken note of subsequent media reports which create the impression that the National Secretary of SANDU had had contact with troops in Sudan concerning this matter.

This impression is factually incorrect.

SANDU and its National Secretary wishes to state categorically that no official or office bearer has had any contact with any SANDF member deployed in Sudan in this regard.

The National Secretary had simply commented on the allegations made by Netwerk24. Any report that the National Secretary, or any other person associated with this union, has had direct access or information from so-called sources in Sudan, is incorrect.

At the same time SANDU wishes to point out that it also has no reason to doubt the report filed by Netwerk24.

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

 

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION
SANDU HQ, Pretoria, Thursday, 7 May 2015

 

UNLAWFUL USE OF SANDF SOLDIERS IN OPERATIONS WITH THE SAPS IN BELVILLE

SANDU rejects the use of South African National Defence Force personnel in operations with South African Police Services earlier today in Bellville, Cape Town.

According to reports, the reason for the operation was to locate and arrest foreigners who are in SA without the required legal documentation.

This objective is not in line with the notice given by the President to Parliament three weeks ago, wherein the purpose of the deployment of the SANDF was stated as “(to) maintain law and order”.

The substratum of that deployment was to combat the violent crimes and general unrest due to xenophobia.

Seeking out illegal immigrants in large scale search and arrest operations was never the purpose of that deployment and, in fact, remains the job of the SAPS.

If President Zuma had in mind operations of the nature conducted in Bellville today, he should have stated same in his parliamentary notice.

Under the circumstances, SANDU has grave reservations about the legality of today's operations in so far as the SANDF was involved therein.

Consequently, SANDU will be laying an official complaint with the office of the Public Protector against the Presidency and the Department of Defence for the unlawful and unconstitutional deployment of the SANDF in Bellville today.

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION
SANDU HQ, Pretoria, Friday, 24 April 2015

UNLAWFUL USE OF SOLDIERS AS GATE GUARDS BY THE DEPUTY MINISTER OF DEFENCE

SANDU condemns the unlawful and illegal employment and deployment of 12 soldiers from 4 SA Infantry Battalion, who have been used since February 2015 as gate guards at the private residence of the Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Kebby Maphatsoe.

This constitutes a flagrant violation of the Defence Act and the SA Constitution’s prescriptions and requirements relating to the utilisation of the SANDF for civilian duties. The protection of Cabinet members and their deputies remains an SAPS function, carried out by the SAPS VIP Protection Unit.

The utilization of the soldiers in the aforementioned role is even more objectionable, given the fact that VIP police protectors already guard the Deputy Minister, a fact that his office now falsely seeks to deny. Furthermore, Matphatsoe’s spokesman’s explanation that he lives in a cluster home is also a blatant lie as he lives in a security complex which has its own security guards.

Kebby Maphatsoe seems to think that his status and appointment entitles him to act above the law and affords him special privileges. Maphatsoe will do well to remember that the SANDF is not his fiefdom and that soldiers are not guerrilla bush fighters to be utilised at his leisure.

The fact that the SANDF refuses to authorise the payment of allowances to the 12 affected soldiers provides proof that the deployment is unlawful and irregular. The soldiers are rightly aggrieved and, under the circumctances, demand to be sent back to their base. They are being grossly misused as private gate swingers when this country has spent thousands of tax Rands to train them as combat Infantry soldiers.

SANDU demands that the Department of Defence immediately address this irregularity and take decisive action against Maphatsoe who is an embarrassment to the Department and South Africa.

The Deputy Minister must be fired.

If this issue is not addressed immediately, SANDU will take legal action and obtain a court order to remedy the situation.

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION
SANDU HQ, Pretoria, Tuesday, 21 April 2015

SANDU’s OFFICIAL STANDPOINT REGARDING THE DEPLOYMENT OF SANDF PERSONNEL IN AREAS PLAGUED BY XENOPHOBIC ATTACKS

SANDU has taken note of the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans,
Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s announcement today that SANDF personnel will be deployed in areas plagued by on-going xenophobic violence.

SANDU wishes to place on record that it has no objection to the deployment of soldiers, wherever required, as long as this is done within the prescripts of the Defence Act (No. 42 of 2002) and the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.

SANDU’s best wishes accompany all the soldiers involved.

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION
SANDU HQ, Pretoria, Tuesday, 21 April 2015

SANDU EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER THE HALTING OF MILITARY COURTS

SANDU is gravely concerned about the fact that the entire Military Court system has been brought to a grinding halt due to the fact that the required letters of appointment for Military Judges have not yet been signed by the Department of Defence.

The effect is that no trial can commence or continue until such time as the appointments have been finalised.

It is astounding that the entire military justice system can be placed in jeopardy as a result of what appears to be poor or lax administration by the SANDF, who ironically are always quick to point out that it needs to run a disciplined Defence Force.

SANDU urges the Department of Defence to finalise the appointments of Military Judges as a matter of urgency. Not only is the administration of military justice and discipline being negatively affected, but the constitutional right to a speedy trial is undermined, whilst the diaries of law practitioners are thrown in disarray.

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION
SANDU HQ, Pretoria, Thursday, 16 April 2015

SANDU REFUTES ANY REPORTS THAT IT HAS FILED COMPLAINTS OF HATE SPEECH AGAINST KING GOODWILL ZWELITHINI WITH THE SA HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

SANDU wishes to place on record that it has not filed any complaints of hate speech at any forum, whatsoever, against King Goodwill Zwelithini, with regards to his alleged utterances about foreigners.

The perception to the contrary, circulating in the media, is absolutely incorrect. The complainant in a case, which was filed yesterday, is Timothy Flack, who just happens to be employed by SANDU as their Western Cape Organiser. Mr Flack has acted in his personal capacity as a SA citizen in filing the complaint.

Although SANDU supports Mr Flack's endeavours in this regard in principle, it is, however, in no way officially party to the filed complaint.

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION
SANDU HQ, Pretoria, Monday, 30 March 2015

SANDU CAUTIONING SANDF FLIGHT AND GROUND CREW MEMBERS ON THE CURRENT NKANDLA “TAXI” DEBACLE 

The South African National Defence Union has taken note of media reports over the weekend regarding allegations of Air Force helicopters being used as private transport for members of the Zuma family and their associates.

SANDU has also taken note of reports that a high level investigation in this regard has already been instituted.

SANDU cautions all members of the South African National Defence Force, specifically the flight crews, support staff and ground crews involved in flights between the Air Force Base in Durban and Nkandla, who may be approached by an investigating officer in this matter, to refrain from providing any statements on this matter, unless and until they have consulted with SANDU Head Office and obtained legal assistance/advice from us.

SANDU issues this caution because the very real possibility exists that lower level public servants will, in all likelihood, be turned into scapegoats as the undeniable tendency has been during  almost all South African political scandals and controversies involving the Presidency. Guptagate and Nkandla are prime examples of this tendency.

Any attempt to shift the blame to one or more SANDF members, should these allegations be revealed to be true, will be vigorously opposed by this union and it will defend its members' rights with everything at its disposal.

 

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION
SANDF HQ, Pretoria, Friday, 13 February 2015

SANDU REACTION TO NORTHERN GAUTENG HIGH COURT CONTEMPT AND COMMITTAL TO PRISON ORDER OF THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND VARIOUS TOP SANDF OFFICIALS

Today, SANDU assisted a senior officer in the SANDF to obtain an order of contempt and imprisonment against the Minister of Defence, the Secretary of Defence, the Chief of the SANDF, the Chief of the SA Army and 3 other senior ranking officers of the SANDF, for being in violation of an earlier court order to reinstate our member to a post from which he was unlawfully removed by the SANDF.

The respondents in this case have, for the past 18 months, been in violation of a previous court order to reinstate our member. They could not show the court that they had made any effort to comply with that order.

This kind of brazen contempt for the courts and the rule of law by the Ministry and the command structure of the SANDF is certainly not surprising, given the maverick tendencies displayed by the Commander in Chief of the SANDF, President Jacob Zuma in flouting the rule of law and disrespect for constitutional restrictions on executive power.

The Minister of Defence and her five co-respondents now face arrest and imprisonment for a period of 30 days should they fail to comply with reinstating our member in the next 5 days.

This High Court order was given on an attorney client scale, which means that the taxpayer is again made to pay punitive legal costs for the contempt of our courts and legal system by the Defence Ministry and the SANDF.

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

Click here to view/download the court order in PDF format

 

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION

SANDF HQ, Pretoria, Wednesday, 4 February 2015

SANDU REACTION TO SCRAPPING OF PUBLIC VIOLENCE CHARGES AGAINST UNION BUILDINGS MARCHERS

Today, the Military Court granted a SANDU application to scrap Public Violence charges against 76 soldiers indicted, pursuant to the 2009 protests at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

SANDU welcomes this development which vindicates the fact that no SANDU member ever committed any offence relating to violence during the infamous march by soldiers.

This finding finally puts to rest the lies and propaganda spread by the SANDF relating to the alleged misconduct by soldiers at the Union Buildings.

Today, 5 years after the incident, not a single soldier has been proven guilty of any offence during that march, this, despite the SANDF's constant insistences that soldiers committed security breaches and act of misconduct on the day in question.

SANDU will now take stringent legal action against the fact that 556 soldiers remain on special leave for their alleged misconduct at the march, notwithstanding the fact that no charges have been laid against them.

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU


MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION
SANDF HQ, Pretoria, Saturday, 31 January 2015

SANDU CONCERNS ABOUT REPORTS OF CRIMINALITY DURING TRAINING AT OUDTSHOORN MILITARY BASE

SANDU is gravely concerned about the ever increasing reports, towards the end of this past week, about SANDF recruits being physically assaulted and verbally abused at the Oudtshoorn Military Base.

These complaints, mostly made telephonically by recruits to their families, include incidents such as instructors physically jumping on the backs and chests of both female and male recruits, refusing recruits with open wounds and lacerations any medical attention, as well as racist verbal abuse.

Further complaints are that some recruits have been refused the right to tender their resignations and are not only now forced to remain at the base against their will, but also forced to participate in training and subjected to further abuse.

Despondent parents complain that the base command and support structure are either unreachable or simply uncooperative when they try to lodge complaints or make enquiries.

SANDU supports tough military training. However, ouright thuggery, verbal and physical abuse, and outright criminal conduct by instructors is condemned in the strongest terms. SANDU will not allow these complaints to be swept under the carpet.

The Oudtshoorn base has become notorious for its bad leadership and high troop casualty count. The SANDF has done very little to address the situation, despite alleged Military Ombud recommendations recently. Those recommendations were even kept secret and there is no way of determining either their content or the military authorities’ adherence to them.

SANDU encourages the parents and affected troops, who have complaints, as well as all military personnel, who have information relating to the current malpractices, to contact the union as a matter of urgency.

SANDU HQ Telephone: 012 3236465 or Fax: 012 3237767
Emergency telephone numbers : 084 999 0207 / 060 605 4562

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION
SANDF HQ, Pretoria, Thursday, 22 January 2015

NOTICE BY THE SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION TO THE SOUTH AFRICAN NATIUONAL DEFENCE FORCE THAT THEIR FAILURE TO REINSTATE LT COL VAN ZYL WILL BE REMEDIED BY URGENT LEGAL ACTION

Lawyers for SANDU and Lt CoL Stephan van Zyl, have today warned the SANDF that urgent legal action will be instituted against the Department of Defence should it fail to immediately uplift the suspension of the officer and reinstate him accordingly.

SANDU will not hesitate to approach the courts in order to have the officer concerned reinstated.

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

Click HERE to see the SANDF's correspondence (PDF file)

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION
SANDF HQ, Pretoria, Tuesday, 20 January 2015

SANDU’S REACTION TO THE MILITARY PROSECUTING AUTHORITIES' DECISION ON THE "GUPTAGATE" INDICTMENTS OF Lt Col's Stephan van Zyl & Christine Anderson

The Military Prosecuting Authorities have today informed the attorneys of indicted Air Force officers in the “Guptagate” matter, that all charges are forthwith withdrawn and, therefore, no prosecution will commence against them.

SANDU and the two officers are elated at this development. However, this matter should never even have implicated the two officers concerned in the first place.

Furthermore, the fact that the authorities are now quietly attempting to walk away from this matter is somewhat of a cheap cop-out, after inflicting irreparable damage to the reputations of the two officers concerned. These officers had to wait sixteen months, since being promised a trial date after no less than three separate State-driven investigations, only to now be informed that the entire matter has been dropped.

The only reasonable inference is that the authorities are too cowardly to have this matter heard at an independent forum, such as a court of law, for fear of the material flaws of their own investigations being exposed and, more importantly, the top level nepotism and corruption which enabled the landing of the plane at Waterkloof AFB. It has become clear that the entire process of the so-called investigations, thus far, was always aimed at the despicable ulterior motive of protecting the President and his political reputation at all costs.

SANDU confirms that both officers have already provided instructions to the SANDU legal team to immediately institute civil law suits against all the State organs which were involved in implicating them.

In the respective hearings of those matters, the SANDU legal team will not hesitate to subpoena all relevant witnesses, including President Jacob Zuma and all members of his erstwhile cabinet, who participated in the Justice Cluster's so-called investigations, as well as Bruce Koloane, who played a central role in orchestrating the Gupta landing.

SANDU's legal team has already demanded, earlier today, the immediate reinstatement of Lt Col van Zyl to his post at Air Force Command.

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

 

Click HERE to see the SANDF's correspondence (PDF file)

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION
SANDF HQ, Pretoria, Wednesday, 19 November 2014

SANDU’s REJECTION OF THE EXTORTION OF MILITARY PERSONNEL BY THE SANDF AT A PORT ELIZABETH BASE

SANDU has received several complaints from SANDF staff members, stationed at the Army Support Base in Port Elizabeth, of being unlawfully and forcefully subjected to a so-called 'parking fee' upon entering their own military base.

This fee is collected by the base command under the pretext of parking costs for vehicles on the premises.

No legal basis or policy exists for military institutions to charge its own employees to park at their State-owned places of work.

To make matters worse, the command structure of this base has recently started conducting roadblocks on a public road outside the military base in an effort to enforce this payment on all military staff and visitors to the base. This includes civilian family members of soldiers as well as retired members who need to visit the base’s medical facility.

These roadblocks are illegal, in that the military has no jurisdiction to unilaterally conduct roadblocks on public roads, unless authorised in terms of legislated prescripts. Such roadblocks contravene the Road Traffic Act in that they interfere with the normal free flow of traffic on a public road.

SANDU views this fleecing of military personnel and members of the public as nothing less than extortion, perpetrated through abuse of military authority.

This union calls on the Department of Defence to condemn and immediately cease this highly illegal practice and also to explain what has happened to the moneys so far collected

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION
SANDF HQ, Pretoria, Friday, 26 September 2014

SANDU’s REACTION TO JUDGEMENT  IN THE HIGH COURT CASE OF THE SANDF vs DWENGA (HIV DISCRIMINATION)

SANDU is extremely delighted at the judgement handed down in the Northern Gauteng High Court, earlier today, in which the Court ordered that the 3 soldiers, who were unfairly discriminated against, due to their HIV+ status, be offered new contracts of employment on the same terms and conditions as they had previously enjoyed.

The court also specifically berated the SANDF’s pettiness to defend this matter in court as “frivolous and vexatious”, consequently justifying the award of a punitive costs order against the SANDF.

This case represents a victory against unfair discrimination based on HIV status and clearly illustrates the SANDF’s intransigence with regards to the constitutional rights of all soldiers.

It remains a disgrace that soldiers, in this day and age, are still compelled to seek the assistance of the Law Courts in a simple matter such as this, where the command structure of the SANDF blatantly disrespects the Constitution of the Republic of SA.

SANDU believes that it is high time for individual senior officials within the Department of Defence be held responsible, in their personal capacity, for wasting not only the court’s time, but also the taxpayers’ money.

By prosecuting such senior officials for, inter alia, wasteful expenditure, this type of unnecessary fiasco won’t happen again.

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION
SANDF HQ, Pretoria, Monday, 8 September 2014

 

REACTION TO CLAIMS OF SPYING AGAINST PUBLIC PROTECTOR BY THE DEP DEFENCE MINISTER

SANDU has taken note of claims by the Deputy Minister of Defence, Kebby  Maphatsoe, that the Public Protector, Ms Thuli Madonsela, is a spy for the CIA.

SANDU has furthermore noted Maphatsoe’s embarrassing egg dance, afterwards, whilst trying to contain the fallout caused by his incredulous claims.

One would expect a person in the position of Deputy Minister of Defence, who has access to all the Military Intelligence services’ information, as well as that of other national security structures, to have the necessary evidence to back up such serious claims. 

One would further expect that, even if government has such evidence, it would let the law take its course and ensure an arrest and prosecution.

The fact that Maphatsoe did neither and then embarrassingly tried to wiggle his way out of the claims by means of vague aspersions, suggests that he was lying publicly and defaming the Public Protector wilfully. The latter is a criminal offense in terms of the Public Protector Act.

SANDU calls on the Commander in Chief of the SANDF, President Jacob Zuma, to terminate the services of Kebby Maphatsoe, as Deputy Minister of Defence, forthwith. His conduct has indisputably brought the Department of Defence and South Africa into disrepute and constitutes a criminal offence.

Maphatsoe should be criminally prosecuted for his wilful and malicious attack on the office of the Public Protector.

Antics like these bear testimony to the innate unfitness of Maphatsoe to serve as a deputy minister.

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

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MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION

PRETORIA, Thursday, 28 AUGUST 2014

 

REACTION BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION TO THE SUPREME COURT OF APPEAL's JUDGMENT DECLARING THE DISMISSAL OF 664 SOLDIERS UNLAWFUL

SANDU is elated at the SCA judgement, handed down on 28 August 2014, wherein the attempted dismissal by the SANDF, by way of newspaper notices to 664 SANDF members, was declared unfair and unlawful.

SANDU also welcomes the express finding that the SANDF’s contention, that the members constituted a risk to National Security, is without foundation. (Copy of judgment is attached)

The members concerned have now spent one month short of five years on so-called special leave, at a total salary bill of almost R450m, and have successfully defended two attempts at unfair dismissal at an additional R6m in legal costs to the taxpayer. The special leave was effected pending outstanding litigation, which has now been completed.

SANDU sincerely calls on the Department of Defence to immediately recall the affected SANDF members to work, as they are eager to render service to South Africa, and the country can hardly afford to effectively operate on a shortage of 664 soldiers, most of whom are Infantry soldiers with specialised combat training and years of valuable experience.

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION

PRETORIA, Monday, 25 AUGUST 2014

 

REACTION BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION IN RESPECT OF EXCESSIVE FLIGHT EXPENSES INCURRED BY THE CHIEF OF THE SANDF

SANDU is highly disgusted at revelations that the flight costs of the Chief SANDF, General Solly Shoke, to Malaysia amounted to R100 000.

Equally disgusting is the brazen defence of such despicable behaviour by the SANDF in its reaction.

While troops work daily in dilapidated buildings and commanders struggle with budgetary constraints, the top echelon of the SANDF apparently think nothing of living in opulence, using the taxpayers' money, and defending their behaviour by dishonestly hiding behind 'operational necessity' of ridiculous expenses.

There is no military operational reason in the world which necessitates generals flying business class to any destination.

There is no honour in arrogance and self-importance and there is even less respect to be gained from troops in such behaviour.

The Chief SANDF should provide detailed reasons to parliament and to SA for his alleged insistence to fly business class at all, let alone in a time where the SANDF operational budget is severely constrained.                                                          

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION

PRETORIA, FRIDAY 22 AUGUST 2014

 

TODAY’S COURT ORDER DIRECTING THE  REINSTATEMENT OF 38 SANDF RECRUITS WHO WERE UNFAIRLY DISMISSED

SANDU is delighted at the Pretoria High Court order today (copy attached) directing the Minister of Defence to reinstate 38 SANDF recruits retrospectively to 1 February 2014.

These recruits were part of a group of 93 who were sent home by the SANDF in February 2014, despite having been selected, contracted and had already started their basic training.

The SANDF refused to provide any reasons for the termination of their services to either the recruits or SANDU, which then prompted this legal action.

The SANDF had no lawful process or reason to terminate the services of these recruits. It is also highly suspicious that, after sending them home, busloads of new replacements arrived at the same bases, even though basic training had already commenced three weeks earlier.  

The effect of the court order obtained is that the SANDF will have to pay these recruits retrospectively and until they have completed their 2 year service periods. Effectively this means that the SANDF, due to its own bad human resource practices and unlawful conduct, will now have to pay the recruits almost R2m in total back pay for the period spent at home, as well as pay the legal costs of the court action, which is close to R100,000. In addition the transport to return the recruits home, earlier, and to now return them to their respective bases, will also be at the SANDF's cost and amounts to approximately R200,000.

The fact remains that the persons responsible for this unlawful decision should be held accountable.

SANDU demands that a Board of Inquiry be instituted and the results made public.

SANDU is already aware of attempts by SANDF management to trump up charges against middle management officers in this regard, whilst the power and authority for such recall came from the Chief SANDF level.

SANDU calls on all the remaining dismissed recruits to contact the union in order to take the appropriate measures to have them reinstated.

Clearly no SANDF member can afford to be without union protection.

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION

PRETORIA, THURSDAY 21 AUGUST 2014

 

SANDU's REACTION TO YET ANOTHER MASS ACQUITTAL OF SOLDIERS ON CHARGES OF UNLAWFUL ABSENCE FROM BASES DURING THE UNION BUILDINGS PROTEST

On 20 August 2014, the Military Court acquitted another 38 soldiers on charges of absence without leave (AWOL) on 26 August 2009.

The allegations were that these soldiers had absented themselves from their bases unlawfully to attend a protest march on that day at the Union Buildings.

Yesterday's acquittal follows on the heels of two other cases of mass acquittals of soldiers, charged with the same offence, earlier this year by the same court. In total 119 soldiers have now been shown to have been innocent of AWOL on the day in question.

These acquittals clearly show that the charges were trumped up and that the Defence Department had misled the SA public by claiming, at the time, that the soldiers had "abandoned" their bases unlawfully.

The SANDF should cease this charade which is turning into a bigger embarrassment than the fact that the soldiers were willing to protest in the first place!

SANDU will also refer these acquittals to its attorneys who are already in the process of embarking on mass lawsuits on behalf of every acquitted member. The combined value of these lawsuits against the SANDF will be R11,9 million.

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION

PRETORIA, TUESDAY, 1 JULY 2014

 

ON THE ISSUING OF WRITS OF IMPRISONMENT BY PRETORIA HIGH COURT FOR SANDF AND AIR FORCE CHIEFS AS WELL AS SECRETARY FOR DEFENCE.

Today the North Gauteng High Court issued 3 writs of committal to prison for the Chief of the SANDF, Chief of the SA Air Force & the Secretary for Defence, respectively.

These writs are pursuant to a court order obtained 3 weeks ago that found that the 3 mentioned officials were in contempt of a previous court order directing them to reinstate 4 members of the SA Air Force, backdated to 2012 after their unfair dismissal. The same court granted the mentioned officials time to comply with the order of reinstatement before 14 June 2014.

Despite the SANDF having knowledge of the reinstatement order, it failed to comply, once again, without providing any reasons for such failure, resulting in SANDU assisting the affected soldiers with requesting the court for writs of committal to prison of the 3 officials.

The relevant writs are attached hereto.

Click to view or download: 7281 Application 7281 Court Order

It appears that the SANDF leaders regard themselves as above the law in failing, without any reason, to comply with high court orders against them. The leadership of the SANDF cannot expect members in the military to have respect and trust in their leadership when that very leadership irrevocably damages it's integrity and credibility by failing to comply with orders of SA courts.

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION

PRETORIA, MONDAY, 23 JUNE 2014

 

ON MEDIA REPORTS THAT 1 MILITARY HOSPITAL DEFERS MILITARY PERSONNEL TO STATE HOSPITALS DUE TO CAPACITY CONSTRAINTS

The most recent story in the media regarding pregnant women, entitled to healthcare at 1 Military Hospital, being deferred for treatment to State hospitals is a direct result of the fact that the SANDF has unlawfully changed the conditions of service SANDF medical doctors.

Recently, their service contracts were unilaterally amended to curb their payment to a maximum of 40 hours overtime per month. The only reason for this restriction in overtime is the dismal way in which the SANDF is managing its budget.

It remains a travesty that over R20 million was spent on subsistence and traveling allowances for generals in the last financial year, while the salaries of the SANDF's critical healthcare professionals are cut to make ends meet. The unilateral and unlawful cut in salary has also lead to several medical doctors resigning from the SANDF, further straining the ability to provide effective health services to soldiers and their families.

The fact that the minister of defence has launched an investigation into the conditions of health care in the military, in no way assists the patients who face being denied their right to be treated by and in a military healthcare facility.

Again, soldiers and their families bear the brunt of astounding mismanagement and unlawful labour practices by a military management which should have been fired for its incompetence ages ago.

SANDU demands that the SANDF immediately announce steps to ensure that all military personnel and their dependents are guaranteed healthcare at military facilities.

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION

PRETORIA, WEDNESDAY, 18 JUNE 2014

ON THE ACQUITTAL OF 58 SOLDIERS ACCUSED OF AWOL DURING THE 2009 UNION BUILDINGS INCIDENT

Today, a military court in Heidelberg, Gauteng, threw out a case against 58 soldiers, who had been charged by the SANDF for going AWOL in order to participate in protest action at the Union Buildings during August 2009.

SANDU is extremely delighted with the outcome and the fact that justice has, at long last, been served. The evidence presented by the State in this trial was so weak that the court found it insufficient to even constitute a prima facie case against the soldiers concerned. This was after the SANDF's own documentation proved that the soldiers were, in fact, all granted leave of absence on the day in question.

This belies the public claims, made all along by the SANDF, that these soldiers had deserted their bases and had thus endangered their own country. Clearly, the SANDF lied publicly about this issue. It serves to note that this was the first in a series of 3 AWOL trials connected to the 2009 Union Buildings incident. It also serves to note that the next 2 cases are even weaker in terms of evidence.

Notwithstanding that fact, the SANDF remains bent on subjecting innocent soldiers to criminal prosecution in what can only be described as trumped up charges, designed to save the political face of government for disgusting neglect of our armed forces.

It is even more disgusting that this futile witch hunt, masquerading as a trial, has thus far cost the SA taxpayer in excess of R18 million in salaries and trial costs for these suspended 58 soldiers alone.

SANDU confirms that all these soldiers have pending defamation claims against the SANDF, to the combined tune of R5,8m, and will now also proceed to sue the SANDF for malicious prosecution, in claims totalling another R5,8m.

SANDU furthermore confirms that all of these acquitted soldiers will not hesitate to participate in future protest marches to the Union Buildings.

SANDU calls on the SANDF to immediately halt these ridiculous and politically motivated trials and to recall the remaining 558 soldiers, still on special leave, back to work.

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION

PRETORIA, WEDNESDAY, 21 MAY 2014

THE UNLAWFUL THREAT AND DEPLOYMENT OF ARMED ACTION AGAINST THE SAPS BY A CERTAIN SANDF GENERAL

SANDU is utterly dismayed at the reports from several soldiers and policemen in Oudtshoorn to our Head Office, of a certain Army general who, whilst allegedly intoxicated, unlawfully mobilised armed soldiers and armoured infantry fighting vehicles in order to free a senior ranking SANDF officer and several other soldiers, arrested in a police raid on a notorious illegal shebeen, in Bongilethu on Saturday night, from police custody.

SANDU is equally dismayed at the fact that the SANDF has up to now failed to take any measures to deal with the army General involved in what can only be described as military backed armed insurrection against the SAPS. In fact, even if steps are taken now, it would only be because this incident has been exposed in the media. We challenge the Chief of the SANDF to illustrate that management members are not treated differently from the ordinary rank and file, who often get suspended for alleged minor infringements. The force and speed with which the military management targeted the officers in the Guptagate affair, as opposed to the current lack of action, shows bias in favour of political expediency and party political interests.

SANDU is informed that soldiers in Oudtshoorn were warned by military authorities to remain silent about this incident or face disciplinary measures. We demand that the SANDF immediately suspends the general involved and investigate charges of intimidation and sedition against him. Clearly his conduct displays utter abuse of rank and the belief that he is above the law. In addition, his conduct illustrates that he cannot be trusted in a position of military authority and that he is irresponsible and dangerous, being in command of military personnel and equipment.

Should the SANDF fail to take steps against the general involved, SANDU will lay charges of sedition against him in the public interest and pursue the matter to its full finality.

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION

PRETORIA, THURSDAY, 20 MARCH 2014

REACTION BY THE NATIONAL SECRETARY OF SANDU TO THE MEDIA RELEASE WHEREIN THE SANDF PERSONALLY ATTACKS HIM

It is with utter disgust that SANDU and its national secretary, Adv JG (Pikkie) Greeff, has noted the media release by the SANDF on 18 March 2014, in which the SANDF has seen it fit to attack the person of the national secretary and falsely accuse him, by implication and insinuation, of being unpatriotic and deceitful. 

SANDU and its National Secretary is not surprised that the SANDF management has stooped so low as to throw overboard all bounds of common decency and to play the proverbial man instead of the ball.

The fact of the matter remains that the SANDF was unwilling to respect the rights of the accused members at the Heidelberg trial and had to be forced to change their views by a High Court application.

Neither SANDU, nor its National Secretary, will ever apologise for defending the rights of members of the SANDF.

The SANDF media release is a badly veiled attempt at deflecting from its own farcical efforts at managing the Heidelberg trial, by personally attacking an individual. Consequently, the National Secretary has instructed his attorneys to service notice of intention to sue the SANDF for defamation, as can be seen from the attached letter dispatched to the SANDF today.

SANDU will not even bother to respond to the false and unwarranted allegations any further, as these issues will be dealt with in a court of law in due course and be proven to be false, unwarranted and defamatory. 

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION

PRETORIA, THURSDAY, 13 MARCH 2014

REACTION TO SANDF FINANCIAL CONSTRAINTS TO ADMINISTER MILITARY COURTS

SANDU has requested the SANDF to explain why 32 soldiers, charged with mutiny in relation to the incident at the Union Buildings on 26 August 2009, have for the past year been denied a trial date for their charges to be heard in a military court.

On 10 March 2014 the military prosecuting authorities responded, as per the attached letter, informing SANDU that 'due to a lack of resources and manpower constraints, we cannot proceed with two such trials simultaneously'.

This response embodies the shocking admission by the SANDF that it has neither the resources nor the manpower to effectively manage and administer its military justice system. The latter is the backbone of a disciplined military force and ensures that dicsplinary infractions are dealt with swiftly and effectively, so as to install discipline and deter would-be military offenders. Failure to properly administer and ensure military justice not only undermines military discipline, but it also robs soldiers, as accused, of their constitutional right to a speedy trial. 

The allegation of mass mutiny against soldiers represents the most important military trial post 1994, while soldiers, so accused, have had to remain on special leave with full pay for the past 4 years. Now this matter is even further delayed because of bad management and administration by the SANDF. 

SANDU has already warned the SANDF that failure to provide a speedy trial for the implicated members would be challenged in a court of law which could lead to an order directing the SANDF to either announce and commence with the military trial, or withdraw all charges and recall these soldiers to duty.

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION

FRIDAY, 28 FEBRUARY 2014

REACTION TO THE REMARKS MADE BY THE MINISTER OF DEFENCE REGARDING STANDARDS AND DISCIPLINE WITHIN THE SANDF

SANDU has noted the comments by Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and reacts thereto, as follows:

Whilst it is correct that the SANDF needs to attract people who are knowledgeable and capable of doing their assigned tasks, the Minister's remarks may be misinterpreted as to imply that the current rank and file, especially the most recent soldiers who have joined the SANDF, are incapable of doing so.

SANDU rejects this notion outright.

The Minister correctly points out that corruption should not be tolerated. It is, however, of vital importance to note that corruption, nepotism, abuse of power and rank, and unfair and unjust treatment of soldiers are not perpetrated by the ordinary soldiers, but by some of those in the most senior ranks of the SANDF. It is ironic that the SANDF Chief, at the same occasion, called for an amendment to the Defence Act to provide commanding officers with more powers to install discipline when, more often than not, it is precisely that rank level from whence malpractices emanate. The main reason for this is that, in many instances, the officers who hold those ranks are the ones who are less than capable and are poorly equipped for command and control positions. Clearly the focus for enhanced discipline and moral in the SANDF is not about changing the recruitment process, but rather about being more circumspect about the character and capabilities of those appointed to management and command and control positions. Apparently, General Shoke ignores the fact that commanders have more than adequate powers to install discipline and to command their units. The fact is that, if one is unsuitable for appointment as a commander, no amount of power will ever be adequate to compensate for ones inabilities. On the contrary, more power to a person, incapable of leadership, is a recipe for abuse and malpractice, as is already being experienced daily by thousands of soldiers.

At the same time, very capable and dedicated commanders are bending under the weight of inadequate equipment and resources, placing them in a bad light. The chronic shortage of resources and dilapidated buildings are not caused by the troops. These are the monuments to a failed civilian oversight and proper management of the SANDF.

It is also ironic that the Minister urges the public to be the eyes and ears of the SANDF so as to root out corruption, yet when SANDU does exactly that, it gets labelled and ostracised by the SANDF command. Soldiers, affiliated to SANDU, are accused of treason. Union meetings are banned and SANDU's officials are slandered in public. Even the Parliamentary Defence Portfolio Committee lacks the political will to carry out their oversight mandate by constantly avoiding hearing the truth from the mouths of soldiers, via the unions. 

South Africa remains the only country in the world which has an entire battalion of soldiers, who have been sitting at home for the past five years due to bad, politically inspired decisions.

SANDU continues to support a well-disciplined SANDF. However, the prerequisite for discipline is high morale. The prerequisite for high morale is proper command and control. And, the prerequisite for the latter is a mental and physical capability in the management of both human and other resources.

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SA NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION

FRIDAY, 24 JANUARY 2014

CONDEMNING THE SANDF'S DELAY IN FINALISING A TRIAL DATE IN THE GUPTAGATE MATTER

The two accused SA Air Force officers in the now infamous Guptagate scandal, Lt Colonels van Zyl and Anderson, have been waiting for months for the Military Prosecutor's announcement of a trial date. Notwithstanding weekly enquiries by SANDU on behalf of these officers, and false undertakings of a date to be announced in mid-January 2014, the prosecutors have failed to provide a trial date and provide any reasonable explanation for the unnecessary delay.

In fact, the case has now taken a rather bizarre twist in that one of the accused, Warrant Officer Ntshisi, has apparently been offered immunity from prosecution in exchange for becoming the prosecution's main witness against his former co-accused. No explanation has been offered as to why he, in particular, has been singled out, given the fact that all three officers faced exactly the same charge of contravening an Air Force order. If anything, Ntshisi’s previous evidence at other forums was full of contradictions and evidence of unseemly behaviour on his part, not the least of which was the fact that he was found to have attempted to solicit a job at DIRCO during the Gupta landing debacle. 

It is clear that the Military Prosecutors are, on the one hand, desperately attempting to fabricate a case against the remaining officers so as to wash the hands of their political masters and, on the other hand, unnecessarily delaying the onset of the trial, the outcome of which has the potential of political embarrassment for president Zuma a few months or weeks before national elections.  

SANDU will not tolerate the blatant infringements on the right to a speedy trial of the officers we represent. SANDU is therefore placing the Military Prosecuting Authorities on terms via the attorneys on record in this matter, that, should the members we represent not be provided with a trial date by 31 January 2014, the accused will take legal action, either compelling commencement of the trial within 30 days or the termination of prosecution and immediate lifting of their suspension.

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION

FRIDAY, 20 DECEMBER 2013

MEDIA STATEMENT ON THE SECURITY CLUSTER'S FARCICLE NKANDLA REPORT

 

Yesterday's Nkandla Report by the Government's so-called Security Cluster, brings about concern for the way in which this particular investigation has been conducted. It has raised red flags for SANDU and the rest of South Africa. One cannot help but point out the similarities between the methodology used here and that of the very same Security Cluster's investigation of the now discredited "GuptaGate" report. One may safely deduce that the Security Cluster is attempting yet another cover-up of their own, as well as the President's, transgressions in exactly the same manner as they did in the case of the GuptaGate investigation.

- As with the ministerial GuptaGate investigation those, who should have accounted, have conveniently set out to investigate (and exonerate) themselves.

- Again, as with GuptaGate, they have failed to provide opportunity to testify to those officials upon whom they now cast negative aspersions. In the case of GuptaGate, this is currently the subject of a complaint being investigated by the Public Protector.

- Also, as with GuptaGate, they have failed to subject the man at the centre of the issue, President Jacob Zuma, to any kind of evidence testing scrutiny.

Yet again, "low level fall guys", operating independently and without official backing, are expected to take the blame, just as Christine Anderson and others were expected to do. All senior officials and ministers have been exonerated. The Security cluster has, in fact, "Andersonised" Nkandla.

This report is absolutely farcical and undermines the public's intelligence and smacks of sheer spin-doctoring. It is of grave concern that in this attempted cover-up, even a senior SANDF general resorted to blatant lies by suggesting that the Sick Bay at the President's Nkandla homestead would be made available to the civilian population living in the Nkandla area. In terms of the Defence Act's Regulations no military Sick Bay is allowed to be used by anyone other than those authorised to do so by the Act, i.e. serving soldiers and their dependants. Even after President Zuma's tenure has been completed, the SANDF will be obligated to take care of his medical needs. However, this does not include his relatives' needs and nor does it require, as suggested by the Surgeon-General, Lieutenant-General VI Ramlakan, an entire military health facility with fully staffed military personnel at President Zuma's personal disposal. post presidency. SANDU challenges Lieutenant-General Ramlakan to prove us wrong with legislation or policy in this regard. Such a notion is outrageous and outright wasteful. If this were acceptable, then why is every former president not afforded a dedicated military facility at his home after retirement? The General is blatantly misleading those who are not knowledgeable regarding SANDF matters and the Act.

What makes his statements even more infuriating is the fact that R11m would be spent on such a facility while thousands of soldiers and their dependants are forced to visit dilapidated , understaffed military medical facilities on a daily basis and often complain of shortage of medication and consultation opportunities. 

Many other blatant lies were revealed after the press conference by the competent journalists present. They asked all the right questions and for this we applaud the media for their thorough investigations into this matter, revealing incompetence, corruption and complete lack of accountability by government.

The Public Protector is yet to reveal her findings on Nkandla and we are quite certain that her version will be accurate, displaying neither fear nor favour. It is expected to include investigations into the various "security cluster" members and their involvement in the building of Nkandla. This will show that members of the cluster should not and cannot be allowed to investigate the key role players in this scandalous incident as they themselves are party to this.

We implore the public and soldiers of South Africa to not allow themselves to be taken advantage of. We call for transparency and accountability and, above all, for fitting punishment for all those found to have been involved with corruption in this regard.

SANDU regrets that the quality of leadership and accountability being displayed in this entire debacle is no example for a professional soldier. We urge our soldiers to stay true and to be disciplined, accountable and professional despite all this.  

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION

FRIDAY, 6 DECEMBER 2013

THE PASSING OF UBAWOMKHULU  NELSON ROLIHLAHLA DALIBHUNGA MANDELA.

It is a sad day for all South Africans and, indeed, the world to hear of the passing of  uBawomkhulu Nelson Rolihlala Mandela. The South African National Defence Union would like to pass on its deepest condolences to the family of Mr Mandela. We mourn together with you in this very upsetting time.

SANDU owes a lot to Mr Mandela as we owe our very existence to him. Mr Mandela, a soldier and a great freedom fighter, heeded our call for help at atime when we were struggling to obtain ligitimisation for our union. From the very start, SANDU took the fight of its uniformed members to the highest authorities. Mr Mandela received a delegation from SANDU during April 1995. At this significant event, Mr Mandela expressed his sympathy for the plight of members in uniform. He committed himself to the principles of fair labour practices as well as equitable treatment for all members in uniform. It should be remembered that, at that time the SANDF Command structures regarded everybody who associated with SANDU as traitors and as a threat to the military environment. SANDU sincerely believes that the support shown by Mr Mandela back then played a major role in SANDU’s survival until it was officially legalised by the Constitutional Court on 26 May 1999. For his role, SANDU can only say 'thank you' to Tata Mandela!

To quote our National Secretary, Pikkie Greeff:

"The test of a nation's character lies in its ability to mirror the lessons taught to it by a leader after he has gone."

Tata was a true leader, the likes of which the world will probably never see again. We can all learn from what he has thought us. We need to stand together in our diversity and never give up on freedom.

One of the most famous quotes of Tata Madiba is the following:

"During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But, if need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."

We pledge to live by this and hold it dear and to honour Tata Madiba. This way his memory will live on and the principals he lived by will be taught to our children, so that we all have a country we can be proud of - the country Tata Madiba envisaged.

We still have a long way to go, but together we can all achieve a truly democratic and free society.

Ubakhonzil’ abaMbo nabaNguni;
Wabakhonz’ abeSuthu nabaTshwana;
Wawakhonz’ amaZulu kaSenzangakhona; Wawakhonz’ amaSwazi namaNdebele; Wawakhonz’ amaTshona, amaNyasa namaKhalanga; Wadib’ izizw’ ezikhulu nezincinane.

(You have served abaMbo and abaNguni;
You have served abeSuthu and abeTshwana. You have served amaZulu of Senzangakhona. You have served amaSwazi and amaNdebele. You have served amaTshona, amaNyasa and amaKhalanga. You brought large and small nations together.)

Waluncama ulonwabo, ikhaya nentsapho yakhe.
(He sacrificed his joy, home and family)

Elirhol’ ihlahla unyana kaMandela idelakufa, Hamba ke  Mandela sakulandela.

(Pulling the branch the son of Mandela who fears not death, ...
Go Madiba Mandela we will follow you.)

Hamba ke Mandela sakulandela!

Good Bye Tata we will never forget you, thank you for all you have done.

SANDU and the soldiers of this country salute you! Go well.

 

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

Tim Flack
SANDU: Western Cape Organiser

 

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION

WEDNESDAY, 16 OCTOBER 2013

 

 

EMPLOYMENT AND PROMOTION OF AN ARMED ROBBER TO SENIOR OFFICER WITHIN THE SANDF

SANDU condemns the fact that one Nceba Patric Bobelo has been allowed to serve in the SANDF and be promoted to the rank of commanding an entire military headquarters, notwithstanding the fact that Bobelo has 12 years ago been convicted of armed robbery of a SAPS station and sentenced to imprisonment of 12 years.

Not only was Bobelo allowed to continue serving within the SANDF as an officer, he was also promoted on three occasions while failing to report for his prison sentence. During these 12 years he would have had to undergo security clearance checks by the military authorities on at least 3 occasions. The SANDF now refuses to divulge whether these clearances were carried out at all and if so, how Bobelo managed to slip through these checks notwithstanding his conviction.

Either the security clearances of Bobelo represents a massive failure in SANDF security clearance measures or a corrupt and deliberate contravention from such measures. The latter kind of contravention could only take place with cooperation and knowledge from the highest authorities within the SANDF. Bobelo was even earmarked for a diplomatic post abroad. The fact is that the media exposed first his conviction and failure to report for jail. Had the media not exposed this the question might well be asked whether Bobelo would ever have been forced to execute his sentence.

It remains mind boggling that a convicted, violent and dishonest criminal could be promoted to command a military headquarters while hundreds of ordinary soldiers remain in an unofficial sentence of special leave for 4 years for merely expressing legitimate employment concerns and without their even being charged with any offence.

SANDU demands that the Minister of Defence immediately launches an independent investigation into this glaring irregularity and cover in such an investigation the extent of involvement of the current Chief of the SANDF, under whose watch as Army Chief, Bobelo was promoted.

SANDU also demands that the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans ensure proper and promote oversight of such an investigation. SANDU has serious reservations about the efficacy of that Committee in such a matter as some of its MP's even have criminal convictions relating to dishonesty and should, therefore, recuse themselves from this matter.

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

 

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION

WEDNESDAY, 19 SEPTEMBER 2012

 

PEACEFUL PICKET AT OUDTSHOORN BASE

 

SANDU has no other choice but to peacefully picket outside the military base in Oudtshoorn in reaction to the poor response by the Chief Army and Chief SANDF to the complaints concerns raised to it by this union concerning the dire management practices taking place in that base. As mentioned before several deaths of recruits and students have occurred at the base over the recent year, of which no investigations and outcomes thereof have been completed or made public.

The most recent suicide by a soldier at the base as well as the dehumanization of another being humiliated on parade by assault and verbal abuse by the Officer Commanding is but the tip of the iceberg.

The only reaction thus far has been for Chief SA Army to visit the base, condoning the questionable actions of the Officer Commanding and threatening the SANDF members stationed at the base with further steps should they not adapt to the current management style, whilst at the same time making veiled threats at union members and those whom complain to military unions.

This picket has the aim of highlighting to the public the injustices and unfair treatment of soldiers in the base and is in line with the union’s right to peaceful picket as provided for in relevant Regulations and the SA Constitution.

The picket will continue until Thursday, 20 September 2012.

SANDU has noted with concern the overreaction and panic by the Officer Commanding of the base in his attempts to threaten and intimidate the organizers of the picket with threats of military arrest and the fact that he has now confined every soldier under his command to the base. He 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. SANDU members will not adhere to these kinds of unlawful and intimidate intimidation orders given under the guise of military discipline. By issuing these illegal orders and clamping down with power abuse on constitutional rights SANDU’s complaints about the Oudtshoorn base is simply being justified.

SANDU calls on the Minister of Defence to urgently intervene in the continued management of the military base in Oudsthoorn.

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

 

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION

WEDNESDAY, 12 SEPTEMBER 2012

 

THE MEETING IN LENASIA BETWEEN SANDF MEMBERS AND MR JULIUS MALEMA

 

SANDU has taken note of the meeting scheduled between Mr Malema and members of the SANDF at Lenasia today (Wednesday, 12 September 2012) as well as the reaction thereto by the Department of Defence.

SANDU is not in the least surprised at the fact that such an event is occurring since a dangerous environment has for some time been created within the SANDF in which soldiers’ legitimate concerns, problems and grievances have simply been criminally ignored or at the very best viewed as nothing more than an inconvenient nuisance and at worst dismissed as unpatriotic. 

Since and despite the events of August 2009 at the Union Buildings rather than conditions in the military being improved they have even further deteriorated to unacceptable levels.  With former Defence Minister Sisulu at the helm, soldiers who dared to raise concerns were persecuted with a vengeance, threatened with unfair dismissals, branded as traitors, mutineers and criminals. Until today 1300 soldiers currently remain on so called special leave as some kind of vengeful punishment for their raising legitimate concerns after being maliciously and through shameless plundering of state resources subjected to years long court battles.

The only questionable achievement in the past 3 years have been a diluted attempt at bringing on par the salaries of soldiers with the rest of the Public Service – an attempt which benefitted the minority of soldiers and which today sees Senior Management Members in the ranks of Brigadier general and higher, at almost R1m per year, on average earning the same as their international counterparts where as the ordinary soldier earns between 10 to 20 times less compared to their international counterparts. 

Conditions and the general treatment of ordinary members of the SANDF have deteriorated in this environment of oppression and dictatorship, where respect for the rights of members or their most basic humanity is nonexistent. A case in point is the tragic occurrence 2 weeks ago in Oudtshoorn military base where one young soldier was driven by humiliation to commit suicide and another soldier convicted without trial at a parade by the Officer Commanding and sentenced to dehumanizing humiliation. Their only crime being that they were in long term personal relationship.

The best reaction the SANDF generals could conjure was to assemble the entire base and berate all soldiers for ill discipline whilst praising the Officer Commanding for his questionable actions. Until today the SANDF  generals refuse to acknowledge the fact that that incident resulted in an anonymous letter circulating in the base that the discontent of the soldiers were threatening to result in the killing of the Officer Commanding.

In the midst of this dictatorial environment, a relentless campaign has been pursued to deny both the Constitutional imperative and the Constitutional court directive allowing military trade unions as an important institution to address effectively the concerns of soldiers. Every possible obstruction has been placed upon soldiers to prevent them from using the trade union as an avenue of redress, to the extent of even persecuting members for belonging to unions, refusing unions meetings with its members, refusing unions access to the workplace and representation of its members by union officials, refusing to engage with unions or to even acknowledge their existence.

Instead attempts have been made to substitute unions with management’s delusional institutions such as the Service Commission and Military Ombudsman which soldiers view as an insult and an affront to their intelligence.

This malignant environment is the legacy of Sisulu which unfortunately seemed to be carrying the wholehearted support of President Zuma, the Commander in Chief. To this day the same Commander in Chief has not lifted a finger to address dire situation of soldiers nor even taken the time to visit their bases in order to listen to their problems, concerns and frustrations. It is little wonder there for that some soldiers would rather trust Mr. Malema to at least listen to their concerns rather than trust their own Commander in Chief, the President.

This entire situation calls for decisive leadership that is devoid of any threats and intimidation as reaction to real needs and concerns.

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

 

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION AND TRIANGLE PROJECT

FRIDAY, 20 September 2013

 

DISCRIMINATION AGAINST GAY AND LESBIAN SOLDIERS IN THE SANDF

 

The South African National Defense Union (SANDU) and Triangle Project - a human rights organisation advocating for the rights and wellbeing of LGBTI persons, have been gathering evidence indicating that a unit within the SA Army has been excluding soldiers from renewal of their contracts due to their sexual orientation.

SANDU and Triangle Project are in pssession of statements by former soldiers who were refused contract renewals because they are gay or lesbian.

Tim Flack, Western Cape organiser for SANDU, stated that he has "evidence under oath that the OC 9 SAI in Cape Town had told gay and lesbian members that he would never recommend them for service because of their sexual orientation. We also have evidence by senior officers describing how gay soldiers are humiliated during selection because of their sexual orientation". And that this particular OC has gone so far as to ask a lesbian soldier if she is willing to relinquish her sexual orientation so he can give her a contract.

For soldiers to have their contracts renewed, they require a letter of recommendation from the OC of their unit. Such recommendation can be withheld under certain circumstances, such as when the soldier in question has any charges against him or her, but SANDF policy and legislation explicitly prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Ingrid Lynch from Triangle Project said that this seems to be a clear example of relatively progressive policy and legislation failing LGBTI people when it comes to implementation. Research has documented human rights violations of LGBTI soldiers under apartheid in the South African Defense Force (SADF), including reports of gay soldiers being subjected to electric shock aversion therapy to purportedly "convert" them to heterosexuality.

Following the change of dispensation the SANDF adopted the White Paper on National Defense in 1996, which, in line with the constitution, prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. This was followed in 1998 by the promulgation of a Policy on Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, which states that the SANDF cannot question recruits about their sexual orientation and that SANDF is "officially unconcerned" about the lawful sexual behaviour of its members.

But Lynch argues that "as long as members of the SANDF continue to experience abuse and discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, these policies remain paper rights and offer little real protection or recourse for LGBTI persons". She also expressed concern about the extent to which LGBTI SANDF members who attempt to speak out about abuse and discrimination are silenced. From the affidavits currently being collected it is clear that members tried to make use of internal reporting channels but that nothing was done to investigate their cases.

Flack concurred that homophobia in the SANDF is often swept under the carpet but that the SANDU will be rooting out such discriminatory practices against LGBTI persons: "We are planning not only to charge the relevant OC of the unit in question criminally, but we will also submit a complaint to the South African Human Rights Commission to ensure that the message is clear that there is no place for homophobia in the SANDF".

As reports are coming in it is becoming clear that the problem is broader than isolated cases and SANDU and Triangle Project will be calling for renewed investigations into discrimination against and human rights abuses of LGBTI persons in the SANDF.

 

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

 

Ingrid Lynch
Triangle Project

(021) 686 1475 / 082 938 9158

 

Tim Flack
SANDU: Western Cape Organiser

 

MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION

WEDNESDAY, 12 June 2013

 

REACTION TO MINISTERIAL RESPONSE ON PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS REGARDING SANDF MISCONDUCT STATISTICS

 

SANDU has taken note of the report, revealed in Parliament, on the SANDF misconduct statistics.

Of greater concern are the attempts by certain parties, in particular the Democratic Alliance, to distort the information provided.

The DA has made a huge fuss of the fact that 93 cases of misconduct had been brought against SANDF members of which 23 involved in alleged sexual offences. However, more telling are the facts that the DA failed to reveal to the public.

Only 15 soldiers were convicted of any misconduct out of the 93 cases. Furthermore, the statistics relate to an 8 year period of deployment in which 25.000 SANDF soldiers were deployed. This in effect means that only 0.06% of all SA soldiers deployed were convicted of misconduct. This constitutes, on average, fewer than 2 soldiers on deployment per annum. This is an excellent military discipline record, measured by the standards of any military force including those of super powers like the United States.

The DA, in its attempt to portray this report as evidence of massive ill discipline amongst deployed troops, have scored somewhat of an own goal. The DA should be ashamed of itself for involving the names of innocent soldiers in its attempts. The DA should refrain from distorting the disciplinary infringement rate as a means to political gain.

The Ministry of Defence should also get its facts straight. The member named in the report, Lt Col van Breda, as having been convicted of sexual offences, was in fact acquitted on appeal. The Department of Defence should not be surprised should this individual decide to sue the Minister for defamation.

SANDU will not allow the image of the serving men and women of this country to be tarnisged for any means, including political gain.

 

Adv JG (Pikkie) GREEFF
NATIONAL SECRETARY: SANDU

 

Tim Flack
SANDU: Western Cape Organiser