Soldiers union takes on Sisulu

THE SA National Defence Union intends asking the high court to set aside the dismissal of 1300 soldiers.

THE SA National Defence Union intends asking the high court to set aside the dismissal of 1300 soldiers.

The union (Sandu) would do so if it was not furnished with the legal grounds on which the dismissals were based, according to a letter sent by its lawyers to Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu yesterday.

"In the event that we do not receive the regulations disproving our position, it is our instruction to approach the high court on an urgent basis."

Sisulu on Wednesday said there was no possibility of a change of heart on the dismissal notices issued to the soldiers.

The notices of "provisional dismissal" were sent to soldiers involved in last week's violent protest at the Union Buildings.

They allowed recipients 10 days to give reasons why their dismissals should not be made final.

Sandu was also set to appeal an eleventh hour court application which saw a planned protest over poor pay and working conditions in Pretoria last Wednesday banned and the permission granted by the metro police cancelled.

Shortly after the court's ruling a group of people thought to be soldiers scaled a fence at the Union Buildings and damaged several cars. Police fired rubber bullets and teargas at them.

Sandu said its members did not take place in an illegal protest, claiming there was no protest.

According to the letter, after the court application, it was agreed between Sandu and police that SANDF members already gathered in the city to protest should be moved to a venue determined by the metro police where Sandu leadership could address its members on the case.

"This is not and cannot be construed as a protest march. Doing so would imply the metro police and the SA Police Service were aiding unlawful conduct."

The attorneys added they had been instructed not to deal with "unfortunate incidents" of violence, saying the union did not condone or encourage violence. - Sapa

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