Military police are this morning conducting an operation at the Doornkop military base south of
SA National Defence Force spokesman Colonel Petrus Motlhabane says the operation commenced last night “and continued this morning without any incidents of violence”.
He adds the charges and arrests “are not in any way linked to the recent illegal protest march at the Union Buildings” last week Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu says she won`t back down on her decision – supported by President Jacob Zuma – to fire 1300 soldiers involved in the extraordinary military protest at the Union Buildings last week.
“The decisions that we have taken were canvassed with the whole of Cabinet and agreed to by the highest level” Sisulu told a media briefing at Parliament yesterday, following her meeting with a heavyweight delegation from the South African Council of Churches.
But The Sowetan newspaper reports today that Sisulu “could be in hot water with her own party.”
A source told the paper the African National Congress (ANC) parliamentary study group on defence agreed yesterday that dismissing the SANDF members “was not the way to go”.
Sisulu will also be under pressure to retract the dismissals when she meets with Congress of SA Trade Unions leaders today. The union federation is a close ally of the ruling ANC and last week criticised the police for opening fire on the soldiers. It also wants the soldiers to be reinstated.
The Sowetan adds that although Sisulu said last week that she was suspending the protestors without pay, acting defence secretary Tsepe Motumi yesterday confirmed that the soldiers will receive their pay until their dismissals are final.
The soldiers have been given until September 10 to provide the ministry with reasons why they should not be permanently fired from the defence force.
The Business Day reports the SANDF yesterday issued “the last of 1300 letters of dismissal” to soldiers it had identified as having taken part in what many describe as a mutinous riot.
The South African National Defence Union (SANDU), which organised last week`s protest, gave Sisulu until 4pm yesterday to withdraw the letters or face court action.
But Mabaya brushed this aside. “If they want to take us to court they should take us to court. We are convinced that we are acting within the law.”