Pretoria – The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has taken a decision to recall soldiers who were placed on special leave following an illegal march to the Union Buildings in August 2009.
“Members will be instructed individually as to when and where they will be required to report,” Chief of the SANDF General Solly Shoke said.
Speaking during a media briefing in Pretoria on Tuesday, General Shoke said the recall will be done according to the terms and conditions provided for in Defence Act 42 of 2002 and other applicable policy documents.
Members of the SANDF were placed on special leave after they illegally marched to the Union Buildings and had a confrontation with members of the police in 2009.
“We felt their conduct was unbecoming and damaging to the image of the SANDF, which is supposed to be the spear and the shield of South Africa,” General Shoke said.
After the march, the affected members of the SANDF were issued with notices of intended provisional dismissal and subsequently they were placed on special leave.
“The administrative processes that the SANDF instituted against these members were challenged through external courts and interdicts,” he said.
According to General Shoke, there were three categories of affected members.
The first group included soldiers who made representations in 2009 and as a result of these representations, they were recalled to resume their duties.
The second category includes members who adhered to Chief of the SANDF instruction of 2012 to report back to their units or bases for the military disciplinary processes to take place.
“These members were subjected to the military disciplinary process, which has been concluded and the members have resumed their duties,” he said.
The third category is the members who disobeyed the Chief of the SANDF instruction of 2012 by not returning to their units or bases. This group involves more than 500 members.
The media briefing addressed the third category of members.
“The Defence Force is uncomfortable with continuing to pay members who are simply sitting at their homes.
“For that reason, the Military Command, with legal advice, has decided the members on special leave must be recalled,” General Shoke said.