“What happened to the professional and disciplined defence force the ANC inherited when it came to power in 1994?” was the question posed by FF+ MP Pieter Groenewald during this week’s defence budget vote in the National Assembly.
He told the House that former president Nelson Mandela himself had pointed out that the African National Congress (ANC) inherited a good and disciplined defence force when it came to power. Two arms of service of this same defence force received new front-line equipment, originally expected to cost about R30 billion with a final figure around the R70 billion mark.
“Sophisticated Gripen fighters and submarines were bought. The Gripens are hidden away in hangars and one of the submarines hit the ocean bottom. We also lost soldiers in the Central African Republic (CAR),” were some of the examples of the decline of the SANDF Groenewald gave to Parliament.
“We read about a female colonel who walks around shopping malls in pink slippers and uniform while on duty.
“In Oudtshoorn an officer activates soldiers with live ammunition and brings them into conflict with the police to release a colleague. Action was apparently taken, but we don’t know exactly what action it was. The officer who led soldiers to the police station committed sedition – he should have been dismissed.”
Groenewald said the Oudtshoorn incident showed ill-disciplined soldiers are capable of anything – even a coup d’état.
“One has to ask what happened to the professional and disciplined defence force the ANC inherited.”