Six months after legal intervention by the SA National Defence Union (Sandu) saw power restored to the Dunnottar military base, the military trade union has again had to go the same route after power to the Engineer Formation base was cut.
A Sandu legal letter dated 22 April has it the electricity supply to the far eastern Gauteng base was discontinued this week apparently due to the result of non-payment by “either the Department of Defence (DoD) or Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) to the Ekurhuleni Metro”.
The Sandu lawyer’s letter addressed to the three most senior people in the Department of Defence and Military Veterans (Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Secretary for Defence Gladys Kudjoe and outgoing national defence force chief, General Solly Shoke); as well as Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia de Lille is copied to the SA Army Engineer Formation GOC and the base OC.
The absence of electricity, according to Sandu, was “untenable” affecting not only the ability of soldiers and other military personnel based there to perform “their required daily tasks”. Additionally electronic security at the base becomes compromised. The military trade union also cited the lack of power to the 150 military families living on base as a concern because payment for power is a monthly deduction from salary.
Sandu said electricity was restored on 23 April. “Had it not been for union of soldiers, hundreds of military members and their families would have been stuck without electricity and warm water still, and the base would have remained unable to operate.”
“It remains a national disgrace that the SANDF allowed this situation to develop to a point where the arrears amount payable on electricity supply was R2.8 million,” Sandu said.
Last October’s black-out lasted 19 days and ended thanks to the “collective power of Sandu and its ability to ensure the rights and interests of its members in uniform are respected,” union national secretary Pikkie Greeff said at the time.
Sandu had threatened legal action if this week’s electricity cut was not resolved by close of business today (Friday 23 April).