The Department of Defence says the around 7000 military personnel deployed in support of the police during Operation Kgwele,the endeavour to safeguard the June-July soccer World Cup, wil be paid soon.
“The process of capturing these allowances has started in earnest and members of the SANDF will be paid out as soon as the capturing process is completed,” DoD Head of Communications Siphiwe Dlamini says.
He adds that Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan “announced during his Medium Term Review in Parliament on Wednesday … that the funds for the payment of allowances to members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) deployed during the … World Cup … have been approved.”
A faction of the South African National Defence Union Military trade union on Wednesday gave the government until next Friday to pay the allowances or face mass protests. “… we implore President [Jacob] Zuma to act decisively pronounce on the fact that our soldiers were not paid,” SANDU national secretary Pikkie Greeff said, claiming some 10 000 “troops” were still owed R30 000 each. Dlamini disputed both numbers.
Greeff said the department had promised to finalise payments by this month, but nothing had happened so far. Members of the South African Police Service had reportedly received their allowances. “We can’t in a democracy such as ourselves have a defence force that deploys its troops and does not pay them,” he said. “We want to know what the commander [in-chief Zuma] is going to do about it. His troops are walking around … they are hungry, they are unpaid and quite severely upset.” Greeff said this negatively affected morale. Making false promises to soldiers was an act of subversion. “It can lead them to revolt.”
Dlamini responds the insinuations “by individuals and or organizations that the minister and senior management of the department are reneging on the promises made to members of the SANDF deployed during the 2010 FIFA World Cup tournament, are viewed and interpreted as vain attempts to tarnish the progress made towards improving the conditions of service of all SANDF members as alluded to by the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans during her budget speech [in May]. There was never doubt that these allowances would be paid.”
Gordhan Wednesday allocated R200 mllion to the DoD as “unexpected and unavoidable” expenditure related to the soccer.