Defence moves to finalise SANDU dismissals case

Friday, September 11, 2009

Pretoria - The Department of Defence and Military Veterans hopes to finalise the court case involving the provisional dismissal of members of the South African National Defence Union (SANDU) as a matter of urgency.

The department is to approach the Gauteng Judge President to constitute a full bench to finalise the issue soon.

"This will ensure that the matter is given the attention it deserves consistent with issues of national security," said the department in a statement on Friday.

On 26 August thousands of soldiers affiliated to SANDU embarked on an illegal march in Pretoria, citing a wage grievance. The protest turned violent when marchers arriving at the Union Buildings were not allowed access to the property.

Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Lindiwe Sisulu, subsequently dismissed those who were involved. The union has challenged the dismissals in the North Gauteng High Court. The case was postponed on Wednesday.

The department said that it was making efforts to finalise the matter as there was a possibility the litigation could take a long time.

"Every South African has a reasonable expectation to live in a country where the defence force not only protects the territorial integrity of the Republic, but also evokes confidence by being exemplary and disciplined in its conduct.

"The long drawn out process of litigation by the unions are an avoidance of necessary repercussions of ill-disciplined protestors," said the department.

Cabinet has expressed its full support support for the manner in which the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Lindiwe Sisulu, is handling the matter against the members of SANDU.

"As stated before, government is not going to tolerate the violation of any of the laws of the land and those who break the law, in whatever shape or form, will be held fully accountable for their actions," said Government Spokesperson Themba Maseko, following an ordinary Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.