Sat Dec 10 20:25:47 CAT 2016

'MILITARY CAN'T AFFORD UNIONS'

By Luzuko Pongoma | 2009-09-01 00:00:00.0 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

former freedom fighters' associations have called for the de-unionisation of the SA National Defence Force after soldiers, mostly their members, went on the rampage and clashed with police last week.

former freedom fighters' associations have called for the de-unionisation of the SA National Defence Force after soldiers, mostly their members, went on the rampage and clashed with police last week.

A Umkhonto WeSizwe Military Veterans Association and Apla Military Veterans Association criticised the soldiers and reaffirmed their support for Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, saying she must be given a chance.

MKMVA national chairperson Kebby Maphatsoe said: "You cannot have a union in the army.

"If a war starts will soldiers consult the union before they shoot?"

Maphatsoe said they understood the soldiers' grievances and were sympathetic to them but that last week's action was uncalled for.

"They are a disgrace. They defied their pledge. A union is a danger to our state," he said.

He said that unions thrive where there was confusion.

Apla MVA national chairperson Mbulelo Fihla said the unionisation of the army was in conflict with the way things were done in the military establishment.

Fihla said there was a tendency among people to protest whenever there was a problem without going through the correct channels.

Maphatsoe blamed the strike on slow transformation in the army, which he said was a ploy by the former regime to frustrate their members.

"The white soldiers leave the army and return as consultants. They then propose cuts that affect our members."

The associations called on the government to review the unionisation of the security cluster because it was not in the interests of the country.

They said even the conventions of the International Labour Organisation did not apply to the security cluster and it was up to the country to develop its method.

Maphatsoe said they would arrange a meeting with Sisulu to plead for the members not to be fired.

"We will appeal to the minister not to fire them," he said.

The associations said they would also try to mend the strained relations between the soldiers and police.

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