The South African National Defence Union (SANDU) is in the North Gauteng High Court this afternoon to challenge the provisional dismissal of 1420 soldiers, airmen and medics for participating in a protest-turned-mutinous riot last month.
SANDU`s national secretary, Advocate Pikkie Greeff says the union`s legal representative Advocate Gilbert Marcus was scheduled to petition the court at 2pm to set aside the letters of dismissal.
“We have briefed [Marcus] in this matter and we seek an interdict declaring the that the dismissal letter not be executed pending the arbitration thereof as we view that letter and the process it envisages as an unfair labour practise in terms of Defence Labour Regulations,” Greeff told defenceWeb by email.
“We take issue with the fact that members have been issued letters and have been burdened with the burden of proving their innocence on a range of unsubstantiated allegations of alleged criminal conduct after being identified on an irrational basis.
“Members are not being afforded a fair hearing and enabled to test the evidence against them in an impartial and fair manner. We view this as contrary the constitutional rights of our members.
“Simply stated, if the DoD has a case against the particular member, i.e. witnesses, evidence etc., surely that member is entitled to test that evidence in a hearing.
“Quite significantly [chief of the SA National Defence Force General Godfrey] Ngwenya in his answering affidavit on this point responds that they are not willing to wait for the time it takes to let the criminal justice system to run its course in convicting these alleged culprits!
“Amazing that the C SANDF would contend that at his behest, constitutional rights and privileges of subjects are dispensed with in the interest of national security! Now where have we heard that before? Uncomfortably familiar isn’t it?”
Defence and military veterans minister Lindiwe Sisulu yesterday told Parliament the sackings had been endorsed by President Jacob Zuma. She was adamant she would not reconsider her decision.
Her deputy, Thabang Makwetla this morning told defenceWeb the matter was on the agenda of this morning`s Cabinet meeting.
He added that the ministry was aware of the SANDU court bid.
Pic: SANDF riots in Pretoria