An order to “recall” the 500 plus soldiers still on special leave following the 2009 Union Buildings protest march by SANDF Chief, General Solly Shoke, appears to be caught up in the bureaucracy that is the Public Service.
Shoke made the call at a hastily called media briefing held at Government Communication and Information Systems (GCIS) head office in Pretoria on May 24. He told those present that “the defence force was uncomfortable with continuing to pay members who are simply sitting at their homes”.
For this reason the Military Command had decided to recall the 507 soldiers still on special leave, but Shoke was not prepared to divulge details of the recall. He said it would happen at a time and venue to be announced and would also not indicate whether those who heeded the “recall” instruction would face further charges under military law.
A request for this information sent to the SANDF’s Directorate of Corporate Communications last week had, at the time of publication, not been responded to.
A SA National Defence Union (Sandu) representative told defenceWeb the military trade union had not been told of any letters of recall received by its members.
“What we have been told is that some of the soldiers on special leave have been contacted to update their address details, but there has to date been no indication of reporting to any specific base on any specific date,” he said.
Estimates are that the soldiers on special leave have cost the SANDF an estimated R6 million a month in salaries for the 80 months they have not been allowed to do their jobs.