Does South Africa have the military judges needed to try the promised courts-martial arising out of duty in the Democratic Republic of Congo? This Eyewitness News article suggests it may not:
The South African Defence Force (Sandf) says it does have enough judges to convene a military court to court-martial 50 troops being withdrawn from the Democratic Republic [of] Congo (DRC).
This after claims by the South Africa National Defence Union (Sandu) that no judges had been appointed in six months.
The Sandf has requested the United Nations release the troops to face a military court after they apparently ignored a curfew to return to their base and stations.
The army says the soldiers’ actions endangered the lives of their colleagues.
Union secretary Pikkie Greef says, “The military courts have not been functional since April this year because the minister of defence has not signed off, for reasons best known to herself, the appointments of the military judges. There is no indication as to when this issue will be resolved.”
Sandf spokesperson Xolani Mabanga says they will not be drawn into Sandu’s claims.
“We are not going to say that we do not have judges and therefore each and everybody can do as they wishes because there are not going to be disciplinary measures taken against them. It is not true that we don’t have judges.”