Backed by a written judgement “lambasting” the actions of a SA National Defence Force (SANDF) general, the SA National Defence Union (Sandu) has gone on the offensive, wanting to know what steps will be taken against a man now said to be dishonest and failing to execute his duties properly.
This follows the union taking up legal cudgels on behalf of Colonel Kobus van den Berg, deputy commander of the SA Army General Support Base in Bloemfontein.
Last year he was apparently told he was being transferred to a base in Limpopo but did not want to accept it. Van den Berg went through all prescribed grievance channels to register his objection to the move all to no avail. He then turned to Sandu for assistance.
The written judgement, in part, states: “The respondent appointed General Officer Commanding (GOC) SA Army Support Formation Major General Steve Marumo either does not know SANDF transfer policy or simply refuses to apply it properly. He disregards the senior officer’s (Van den Berg) right to have the matter addressed procedurally.
“Marumo dishonestly denied under oath he had knowledge of the senior officer’s grievance as transcripts of a conversation clearly show he was well aware of the grievance weeks before the court case started. The finding regarding Marumo’s dishonesty under oath is to be referred to the National Prosecuting Authority to decide on possible prosecution for perjury.”
The judge also pointed out the SANDF disregards its own policy on transfers and that “the court will not tolerate this kind of behaviour from SANDF generals”.
Responding to the judgement, Sandu national secretary Pikkie Greeff called it “unfortunate” that a senior officer had to approach the courts to expose the lack of integrity and professionalism displayed by senior management of the SANDF “in its dealings with soldiers who are expected to give their lives in service of the country”.
He maintains Marumo should be suspended pending prosecution and the wasted costs incurred with bringing the matter to court be recovered as fruitless and wasteful expenditure under the Public Finance Management Act.
“Anything less would send the inescapable conclusion that senior generals are protected by management irrespective of their incompetence and misbehaviour.”
Greeff added Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula should make public the steps she intended taking against Marumo “in view of the findings of dishonesty, failure to execute his duties and the resulting special costs order against the Department of Defence”.