Reserve Force protest doesn’t reach the Union Buildings


A protest in Pretoria earlier this week saw a group of Reserve Force members not allowed to hand over a memorandum at the Union Buildings and have some of their number arrested, on what were still unspecified charges at the time of publication.

The protest, according to the Department of Defence (DoD), was to highlight problems with service conditions in the part-time component of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) as well as bring to the fore corruption, particularly as regards call-ups. DoD head of communication, Siphiwe Dlamini, said ahead of the protest it was “ill-informed and unnecessary”.

News agency reports have it the group was apparently accosted by military police in Thaba Tshwane ahead of a march to the Union Buildings. No numbers are given but some were arrested. SANDF Director: Corporate Communication, Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi, is reported as saying “some people were detained”, but did not give any numbers.

SANDF corporate communications senior staff officer, Colonel Ronald Maseko, earlier today said he had no information about the march and apparent arrests. He added the military police would be approached for more information.

At least one component of the part-timers’ apparent problems with their sometime employer, the SANDF, that of corruption around call-ups, is already being investigated by an SA Army board of inquiry. The inquiry was appointed by Lieutenant General Lindile Yam in August and is due to hand its final report to the Army Chief by the end of February at the latest.

More than 30 soldiers, from both the full-time and Reserve Force components of the SANDF, have already testified at the board of inquiry and indications are more want to do so before it finalises its report for Yam.

The board is expected to make “recommendations to rectify and minimise shortcomings, risks and implications” around the Reserve Force call-up system to minimise corruption.