Call-ups are for many Reserve Force members the only work they have and untoward actions regarding this are viewed as criminal and result in the loss of income for any number of SA National Defence Force (SANDF) part-time soldiers.
To ensure actions of this type are rooted out a board of inquiry was instituted by SA Army Chief, Lieutenant General Lindile Yam, in August to investigate call-up corruption allegations. It has almost completed its work, according to a Department of Defence statement.
This announcement comes at the same time as notification of a planned protest march by Reserve Force members in Pretoria today (Tuesday). The march, according to Department of Defence head of communication, Siphiwe Dlamini, is aimed at addressing service conditions in the Reserve Force and “alleged corruption with the call-up of Reserve Force members”.
He points out corruption – and other allegations – are currently under investigation by the board of inquiry which will submit a comprehensive report to Yam by the end of next month. The report will include information on the current situation as regards Reserve Force call-ups and “well appreciated immediate recommendations and actions to rectify and minimise shortcomings, risks and implications as well as possible long-term solutions”.
More than 30 soldiers, from both the full-time force component and the Reserves, have to date testified at the board of inquiry and more have indicated they “want to testify”.
Dlamini said the process of charging at least some of the alleged perpetrators of call-up corruption was currently being done by military police.
“Once the board of inquiry findings have been finalised, the military police will again be involved in the process as far as further investigation of certain issues are concerned as well as charging implicated members,” Dlamini said.
With regard to the planned march, Dlamini reiterated that the SANDF has formal internal structures in place to address all grievances, alleged corrupt practices and/or any other transgressions reported against or by any member of the SANDF and or public.
The SANDF is of the opinion that the planned march is totally ill-informed and unnecessary, said Dlamini.
He said any SANDF member found to be in breach of the Military Disciplinary Code and the Code of Conduct for uniformed and civilian members, will be subjected to prescribed internal legal processes.