|Hon. Sandile Ngcobo|
Following is a press release issued by the South African National Defence Union:
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 [Supreme Court of Appeal] 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: SANDUChief Justice (Ret) Ngcobo's decision can be found here.