Only 22 percent of the 1 014 serious crimes’ reported in the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) over the past four years have resulted in convictions.
An answer to a Parliamentary question revealed that more than half of those reported – 680 – went as far as court.
Now opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party shadow defence and military veterans minister David Maynier wants more detail from Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
The offences covered by the Minister in her reply are attempted murder, common assault, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, drug related crime and aggravated robbery.
“The answer clearly does not provide a comprehensive picture of the levels of criminality within the SANDF. No information was provided for a number of serious crime categories including murder, common robbery or any sexual offences,” he said, pointing out the 14 instances of “sexual exploitation and abuse” reported from the DRC and allegedly involving South African soldiers.
Maynier said there was no question about the loyalty, professionalism and discipline of the majority of SANDF members.
“Sadly, they are being let down by a criminal element in their own ranks.”
In terms of convictions, the best success rate over the past four years was for drug related crime where 25 convictions were obtained from 45 cases, out of a reported 57, that made it to court. Next best conviction rate was assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm at 23%.
Conviction rates for both attempted murder and common assault were 21%.
Of 14 attempted murders reported,11 made it to court with three resulting convictions.
Common assault was by far the most reported crime, according to the Ministerial response, with 614 incidents of which 423 were referred for court proceedings. A hundred and twenty-eight convictions resulted.
Maynier told defenceWeb he would be seeking “a comprehensive briefing” from the Minister on exactly what the status of criminality in the country’s armed forces is.