The South African National Defence Force and the South African National Defence Union remain locked in a stalemate over a demonstration some six years ago. Efforts to discipline or discharge the offenders have come to naught thus far. This report tells the tale. Excerpts:
“The legal representatives of the members through the unions, they will always challenge and take us to court. Take us to this court, interdict this, take us to that court, challenge this and challenge this. That’s the ma[i]n contribution to the delay as we stand now,” says SANDF spokesman Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga.
Mabanga says the defence force is in the process of conducting “administrative discharge” processes, meaning the military still want the soldiers out.
“There are things that are not accepted. They may not be written as a rule or as a law but just by practice they are not accepted,” Mabanga explains.
He adds that the defence force is still in disagreement with a Constitutional Court ruling that allows soldiers to strike and to belong to unions.
“It is not accepted of the members of the SA National Defence Force to strike. They may have a legal right to strike, they may have a constitutional right to strike but it is not an accepted practice that members serving in the South African National Defence Force go to strike,” he said.
But the union says the defence force is to blame.
“The question before the court irrespective of what transpired on the day in question is the procedure that the defence force has followed from day one up to now. The procedure was invalid, illegal and unconstitutional," says former SANDU president Mosima Mosima.