Friday, July 31, 2015

Military unions: the view from South Africa

Pikkie Greeff
Former military lawyer Pikkie Greeff, who is National Secretary of the South African National Defence Union, wrote this fascinating op-ed a couple of months ago, shedding light on SANDU's view of its role. The whole piece is worth reading; here's an excerpt:
"The fact that one in three soldiers belongs to the military Union SANDU, which has a fierce human rights protection record and a reputation for not taking cover on matters of national concern, says a lot about the collective awareness of Constitutional rights and obligations among soldiers. Unlawful deployments which are at odds with the Constitution will simply not be tolerated by the very union of soldiers themselves. While on this topic, let me state clearly (as many have asked me about it) - SANDU does not opine on the merits of a deployment decision. It is not the mandate of a military Union to question the merits of an operational decision. SANDU will, however, fiercely fight against a procedurally unlawful decision to deploy because that directly places soldiers on the ground at risk of legal liability and flouts the Constitutional order. SANDU will also vehemently defend the concerns of soldiers such as equipment malfunction or ration shortages whilst they are deployed."

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