Tempe’s sleeping sentries make it to Parliament


The loss of weapons and other military equipment, taken from soldiers on guard duty at Tempe military base last August, has been attributed to negligence, a lack of discipline and failure to obey orders and instructions.

This emerged in response to a parliamentary question posed by Freedom Front Plus (FF+) MP Pieter Groenewald.

The guards were apparently tied up with their own bootlaces and robbed of their R5 assault rifles while on sentry duty at the main entrance to Tempe military base outside Bloemfontein.
“The guards were on official duty when the incident occurred but they were asleep on guard duty,” the reply from Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, said.

The guards were attacked and robbed of their weapons and equipment while on duty at the main entrance to the base.

Two assault rifles, a radio, two magazines, two weapon belts, two lanyards and 60 rounds of ammunition worth a total of around R18 000 were stolen in the robbery.

A board of inquiry was set up and completed its work in October, the department told Groenewald, who had submitted a question for written reply.

According to the reply released on Monday, the loss of the weapons and equipment could be contributed to negligence, a lack of discipline and failure to obey orders and instructions.

It also found that a security fence, cameras and security lights around the warehouse were not up to standard.

The guards did not adhere to orders and the inquiry also found they had been posted by a driver rather than the guard commander.

The training of protection services guards was also not up to standard.

The inquiry recommended the upgrading of security measures and the development of a specific training programme for protection services members.

No arrests have yet been made in connection with the robbery.