SA Army Chief, Lieutenant General Lindile Yam, has given the board of inquiry investigating conditions at the specialist infantry unit where 25 horses had to be put down just 30 days to complete its work and report back to him.
Boards of inquiry (BOI) are standard operating procedure when accidents involving military personnel and equipment happen. Also standard operating procedure is not to make public the names of those serving on them and the SAASIC (SA Army Specialised Infantry Capability) inquiry is, as expected, treated the same.
“Details of members conducting the BOI cannot be made public as this may compromise the investigation. The SA National Defence Force confirms the BOI is conducted by senior members,” said spokesman Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi, adding it has 30 days to complete its work and report findings and recommendations to Chief Army.
A retired Army officer points out both Yam and the General Officer Commanding the SA Army Infantry Formation are responsible for the situation at the Potchefstroom base housing SAASIC.
“On a daily basis, the unit commander has to send a situation report to Infantry Formation informing them of the state of play at the base in common with every other Army base. This covers all aspects of base administration including deaths of horses and why.
“The base commander in conjunction with the equestrian wing commander and veterinary personnel on base must have discussed the state of the horses at the daily ops /training conference. What else would the commander of the equestrian centre have to discuss? The situation report would be a synthesis of these discussions,” he said.
He also points out the loss of horses five years ago, which led to a memorandum of understanding being entered into between the unit and the National Council of SPCAs (NSPCAs). “Was no rectification plan implemented by SAASIC and monitored by the Infantry Formation?” he asked.