SANDF soldiers strike hits hopeful 'recruits'

BLEAK FUTURE: Some of the frustrated youths who had dreams of joining a SANDF skills training programme dashed. Pic: ANDREW HLONGWANE. 05/10/2009. © Sowetan.
BLEAK FUTURE: Some of the frustrated youths who had dreams of joining a SANDF skills training programme dashed. Pic: ANDREW HLONGWANE. 05/10/2009. © Sowetan.

HUNDREDS of young people's dreams of being enrolled in the SANDF's military skills development system were shattered yesterday.

HUNDREDS of young people's dreams of being enrolled in the SANDF's military skills development system were shattered yesterday.

This after they were allegedly told that the MSDS selection process had been postponed indefinitely because of a recent strike by soldiers.

The applicants showed Sowetan letters from the SANDF inviting them to the selection process. The angry young people accused the SANDF of wasting their time and money.

Siyabulela Hector Mbangeleni, 20, from Atteridgeville in Tshwane, was one of the hundreds of youths left stranded in Nelspruit after being told the selection process had been postponed.

"Can you imagine how much money I used to travel from Atteridgeville to Nelspruit? Nobody informed us that we should no longer come here," said a disappointed Mbangeleni.

Pholile Dlamini, 19, from Jeppe's Reef near Malelane in Mpumalanga, said she did not know what she was going to tell her grandmother who used her pension money to pay for her trip to Nelspruit.

"My dreams are shattered, let alone those of my grandmother who used her last money to pay my transport costs.

"To top it all a SANDF official said he was doing us a favour by telling us about the postponement because his bosses were not ready to do so," Dlamini said.

Lucky Khoza, from Cunningmoore B in Bushbuckridge, Mpumalanga, was also very disappointed.

"I passed matric last year and thought this was my opportunity to do something with my life," Khoza said.

The letters sent to the applicants read: "To consider your possible enlistment for MSDS training, you are required to attend a selection process for the day as mentioned: 2009 10 05 in Nelspruit."

An official from the SANDF, who refused to give his name, said: "I'm just doing you a favour. No one wants to come and tell you that because of the recent strike in the SANDF we are not going to attend to you until further notice."

Department of Defence and Military Veterans spokesperson Sam Mkhwanazi said he was not aware of the incident but promised to investigate.

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