That ill-discipline and criminal acts will not tolerated in the SA Navy has been ably demonstrated by the dishonourable discharge of an able seaman, the first time in 15 years this form of military punishment has been meted out in the maritime arm of service.
The sailor, Sefako Simon Montsitsi, was found guilty of assault following an incident when he apparently assaulted a fellow sailor with a bottle in the Cape Town suburb of Goodwood in August 2011. His plea of not guilty in the Military Court was overturned.
He was sentenced to a dishonourable discharge with a sentence of a year in jail suspended for three years on condition he did not commit a similar offence, Afrikaans daily Beeld reported.
His cashiering was witnessed during a parade attended by the entire company of Simon’s town Naval Base and overseen by base commander Rear Admiral (JG) Maningi Mkhonto.
Montsitsi, escorted by military police, was marched onto the parade ground to the beat of a lone military drum. A halt was called in front of the base commander and he had to listen to the junior grade admiral read out his offence, fine and punishment. The able seaman was then marched to the base gate where he had to remove his uniform. This was followed by another march, again escorted by military police, to his cabin where he had to pack and remove his personal belongings and then back to the base main gate where he was literally “shown the door”.
On parade Mkhonto said discipline was the cornerstone of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) as well as being an integral component of all communities. He warned those under this command any transgressions of the Military Disciplinary Code would be dealt with and that punishment could be expected.