Probe over protest by SANDF soldiers to begin
THE Department of Defence says it will start with a preliminary investigation next month to determine charges against soldiers who stormed the Union Buildings during an illegal march in 2009.
Defence spokesman General Xolani Mabanga told Sowetan yesterday that an assertion by the SA National Defence Union (Sandu) that the soldiers could not be charged after three years was invalid.
"They can be charged with mutiny and there is no time-frame prescribed by the law that (stipulates) members have to be charged within a certain period," Mabanga said.
He said the soldiers, who were among a group of 1300 who disobeyed an order made last month for them to return to duty, "could face a charge of defying a lawful command."
Mabanga explained: "The SANDF is currently proceeding with the necessary arrangements required to deal with those members who are implicated in the August 26 2009 incident at the Union Buildings."
Less than 100 had reported back to their bases.
Sandu spokesman Jeff Dubazana accused the defence force of being insincere in disciplining members.
"They want to frustrate them. We are developing a programme of action that will force them to drop charges against the members," said Dubazana.
The union won a court case against the Department of Defence when it tried to terminate the members' employment after the strike.