SANDU threatens legal action as Dunnottar base electricity cut


The South African National Defence Union (SANDU) is threatening legal action against the Department of Defence after electricity was cut to 150 families at the Dunnottar military base due to non-payment by the state.

In a letter dated 22 October, SANDU told defence and military veterans minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and others including the Chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) that the electricity supply to the entire base (including offices, buildings and military housing) was cut off 15 days before by the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, “apparently due to non-payment by the Department of Defence and/or the Department of Public Works of the said municipal electricity bill of the base.”

This is limiting staff from performing daily tasks and is compromising the base’s electronic security systems.

SANDU, via Griesel Breytenbach Attorneys, stated that “this situation is completely untenable to our client and its members and to the detriment of the public at large. The situation is even more disconcerting considering the fact that the military families pay for their service via Department of Defence payroll deduction monthly.”

SANDU said that should electricity not be restored by close of business on 23 October, the High Court would be approached for “the necessary relief on an urgent basis.” It added that “we trust that legal steps will not be necessary and that the problem will be resolved.”

A spokesperson for the City of Ekurhuleni, Themba Gadebe, confirmed to Times Live on Friday that the SANDF owes the municipality more than R9 million and added that the department of defence was in talks with the municipality to resolve the issue.

Gadebe told Times Live the SANDF owed the municipality R13 million for electricity, but had paid R4.6 million.

Apparently the SANDF transferred responsibility for electricity payment from the Department of Public Works in April 2020.

The SANDF is engaging with the municipality to remedy the situation.