SANDU protesters to be dismissed

Friday, August 28, 2009

Pretoria - The South African National Defence Union (SANDU) members who took part in the illegal and violent protest at the Union Buildings on Wednesday are to be dismissed, says Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

She said the department had decided to follow the legal process available to the defence force and within the defence force to proceed with the ultimate sanction that will allow the soldiers to separate, which means they will be dismissed.

She was speaking briefly at a press conference on Thursday following consultations with the Defence Council regarding Wednesday's events.

Thousands of SANDU members took to the streets demanding a 30 percent salary increase, despite a court interdict declaring it illegal.

The protest turned violent when marchers arriving at the Union Buildings were not allowed access to the property.

Acting Chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), Lieutenant General Themba Matanzima, assured the public that the country was safe.

"The SANDF is in charge and it remains a dependable, disciplined and professional force capable of defending the country, its people and property as mandated by the Constitution."

He said they had already embarked on internal corrective measures including disciplinary processes to ensure that such incidents did not recur.

Lieutenant General Matanzima said there were an estimated 1500 to 2000 members of SANDU who took part in the march and that they were aware of which SANDF members had taken part in the march.

On Thursday Cabinet slammed the behaviour of SANDU members for defying a court order, engaging in unnecessary violent behaviour, causing damage to private and public property and attempting to invade the seat of government.

"It is totally unacceptable, especially from people who have the responsibility of being the true defenders of the Constitution," said Government Spokesperson Themba Maseko.