Verbal skirmishing escalates as Union Buildings trial again put on hold


Legal wrangling has again seen a delay in the ongoing trial of soldiers who protested, apparently against orders, outside the Union Buildings in August 2009.

The trail resumed on Monday at the Army Gymnasium in Heidelberg only to be halted when legal technicalities regarding fuller information were again raised. SA National Defence Force (SANDF) director: corporate communications Brigadier General Xolani Mabanga said the trial would now resume on May 20 “in order to give all parties involved enough time to prepare”.

At the same he let rip against SA National Defence Union general secretary, Pikkie Greeff, for the stance taken by the military trade union on the trial.

The one star general, who was part of Defence Intelligence before moving into the military communications arena, called the Sandu man “mischievous and irresponsible” as regards “misinformed” comments about the trail, its duration and cost.
“He in particular is the one who is behind all the delays. It will (sic) be appreciated if Mr Greef (sic) can tell the members of the public the role he played as a person and as a Sandu official in planning, organising and orchestrating the march to the Union Buildings.
“Greef (sic) must tell the people of South Africa how a loyal and patriotic citizen can influence and assist members of his or her national defence force to plan, organise and stage a march to the seat of government – the government they as members of the national defence force are supposed to protect.”

While not going as far as branding the Sandu national secretary a traitor, Mabanga said Greeff needed to tell the people of South Africa why he left the SANDF.
“Mr Pikkie Greef (sic) must demonstrate to the people of South Africa that he did not leave the SANDF because of his bitterness about it or he is not in favour of transformation in the SANDF,” he said.

Mabanga also pointed out there were two groups “currently emanating from the members of the SANDF who were involved in the march to the Union Buildings”.

The first group comprised soldiers who, when “called” to their home units or bases by an instruction from SANDF Chief, General Solly Shoke, did so.
“They are currently appearing before the Military Court at the Army Gymnasium and this is the case that will resume on May 20.”

According to Mabanga the second group are soldiers who defied the instruction issued by Shoke and decided to stay at home.
“These members are facing an administrative discharge from the SANDF.”