The issue of unauthorised and illegal use of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) camouflage uniform on television last month is now in the hands of the defence force’s legal personnel.
An emotively worded statement followed the appearance on DSTV’s Channel 157 Moja Love. The channel is reported to be a general entertainment channel “female-skewed [and] geared towards content that showcases various forms of love”.
defenceWeb learnt contact was made with the producers of the TV programme concerned and were informed the camouflage uniform worn by an actor was supplied by a theatre costume contractor. This publication was told the producers of the Moja Love channel had “nothing to do” with costumes and outfits worn by actors and the matter has now been referred to the legal Services Division of the national defence force. There was no indication of the military police taking part.
In a statement issued after the programme was aired on 20 October, the SANDF said the “unabated, illegal use” of the military camouflage uniform caused “immeasurable concern” to the force. It continued the “person” illegally wearing the SANDF uniform “is not a member of the SANDF and not authorised to use the patented camouflage uniform nor was he representing the interest of the SANDF in any way, shape or form. The SANDF is gravely concerned by the unabated illegal use of the SANDF combat dress (camouflage)”.
Unauthorised use of the camouflage uniform can lead to either a fine or up to five years imprisonment or both according to the Defence Act.
According to the latest Department of Defence (DoD) annual report the SANDF’s legal services division achieved a success rate of 71% in “litigation cases finalised in the best interest of the department”. In number terms this translates in 101 cases received and attended to in the 2018/19 financial year. Thirty-nine out of 55 cases finalised were in the department’s “best interest”.
No breakdown of what charges were brought and successfully litigated is given in the report which also notes that 74 out of 147 active cases of corruption and fraud were finalised in the year under review.