Rank reduction for drunk soldier caught on social media


The “disgraceful behaviour” of an inebriated soldier, widely shared and ridiculed on social media, has brought repercussions from the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).

His escapade saw military police assisted by Tshwane metro police start the hunt for the errant in uniform.

A statement released today has it the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) “announces the arrest and conviction of a soldier seen on a viral social media audio-visual clip intoxicated whilst dressed in full SANDF camouflage gear”.

The guilty party is identified as Corporal PN Ngcobo of an unnamed Reserve Force unit. He was arrested by Military Police on 21 August in Thaba Tswhane.

SANDF Directorate: Corporate Communications (DCC) director Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi is quoted in the statement as saying Ngcobo was charged under the Military Disciplinary Code (MDC), section 45(a) relating to unseemly conduct and found guilty. “He was sentenced to a reduction in rank (one rank lower) from corporal to a lance corporal.”

It appears from the statement, Ngcobo’s apparent absent without official leave (AWOL) transgression at the time of his social media star turn did not make it onto the charge sheet for last week’s military court appearance.

At the end of the day, Ngcobo is a part-time soldier and the reduction in rank to one above private will affect his income, earned only while he is on active duty. This, a retired senior army officer told defenceWeb, “did not appear to be too much of a deterrent in preventing others drunkenly disporting themselves on social media”.

The official line according to the statement is: “SANDF Chief General Rudzani Maphwanya and members of the Military Command reiterate and remind all SANDF members no act of ill-discipline or criminality will be tolerated or go unpunished in the military regardless of rank or position”.

“SANDF members are expected to conduct themselves with the necessary decorum and discipline at all times.”.