Shoke slams Tempe’s sleeping sentries


General Solly Shoke, the country’s top soldier and a firm believer in strict discipline, said the actions of two sentries robbed while asleep on duty at Tempe military base last year was “a disgrace”.

Speaking during this week’s briefing on a decision to recall soldiers on special leave following the 2009 Union Buildings protest, the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) chief confirmed both had been charged.
“I do not have full details of the charges, but yes, I can confirm they have been charged,” he said.

The soldiers were on guard duty at Tempe military base in Bloemfontein and were apparently asleep at their posts when they were robbed of their R5 rifles, two magazines, 60 rounds of ammunition, two weapon belts, two lanyards and a radio. This emerged in an answer to a Parliamentary question posed by Pieter Groenewald.

Defence and Military Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s told the FF+ MP a board of enquiry had investigated the incident and attributed the loss of weapons and equipment to negligence, a lack of discipline and failure to obey orders and instructions.

This is totally contrary to Shoke’s view on military discipline. He maintains it is one of the non-negotiables in the SANDF and is on record as saying when he was SA Army Chief that people looking for “just a job” should not even think of joining the SANDF.
“It’s a calling and people join the military to serve not just to earn a salary”.

He pointed out the Tempe sleeping sentries could have faced the firing squad for dereliction of duty had they been found asleep in another army or defence force.