Court grants Defence postponement on SANDU case

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pretoria - The North Gauteng High Court has granted the Department of Defence and Military Veterans a postponement on the matter between the department and the South African National Defence Union (SANDU).

The postponement was granted following an out-of-court agreement between the two parties for the matter to be postponed, on condition that the department will file with the court its answering affidavits within two months.

Departmental spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini said that as a result of the seriousness of the matter, the department had wanted to brief Cabinet about the matter, which was done during an ordinary meeting of Cabinet on Wednesday.

He said the matter was of national interest.

"With the cabinet having been briefed on the matter at hand the department is ready to approach the high court to finalise the administrative process arising out of the provisional dismissals," said Dlamini.

According to the union, the postponement means that the dismissals of 1300 SANDU members has been put on hold until the matter has been heard in court.

"We cannot go against a court ruling, so the soldiers will be reporting on duty until the court process is over," said Dlamini.

Thousands of members of the SANDU recently embarked on an illegal march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, demanding a 30 percent wage increase. This was despite the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Lindiwe Sisulu, securing a High Court interdict against the march.

The protest turned violent when marchers arriving at the Union Buildings were not allowed access to the property. According to media reports, police fired rubber bullets at protesters who refused to disperse after handing over a memorandum of grievances.