Navy transfers raise Sandu ire


The legal and personnel divisions of South Africa’s military find themselves under fire, with Sandu (SA National Defence Union) taking up cudgels on behalf of members who say they are being unfairly treated.

This time around it is Navy members of the military trade union who are unhappy about transfers from, mainly, SAS Saldanha, to other naval bases and facilities. Sandu’s Pikkie Greeff told Afrikaans daily Beeld that lawyer’s letters were delivered on Friday to the Navy, SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Chief General Solly Shoke, Defence Secretary Dr Sam Gulube and the Ministry of Defence warning legal action was on the way.
“The letters set out Sandu’s intent, on behalf of 40 members, to seek legal redress as regards their transfers,” he said, adding all affected Sandu members had followed proper procedure to oppose the transfers but had had no response from the Navy. “In terms of its own regulations this means the Navy committed an offence.”

The transfers were announced by the maritime arm of the SANDF last year with Captain Zamo Sithole saying the movement of personnel was in the best interests of the Navy and transfers were “a given” for any Navy member.

According to letters sent to the affected members they must report at their new bases by February 2 or face being declared “excess”.

Included in the transfers are people who have children in their final year of schooling at Saldanha and others committed to mortgages on houses. Sandu alleges some of the Navy members have been transferred to bases where there is no military accommodation for them.