SANDF hit by racism

THE Department of Defence has commissioned a board of inquiry to investigate allegations of racism in the South African Air Force.

THE Department of Defence has commissioned a board of inquiry to investigate allegations of racism in the South African Air Force.

Department spokesperson Colonel Petrus Mothlabane said the inquiry would investigate racism, intimidation and abuse of power in the directorate of corporate staff services.

This after the head of the directorate, Brigadier General Tersia Jacobs, was singled out in a military court last month as being behind a plot to discredit a high-ranking official in the directorate.

Mothlabane said the inquiry was the result of "what was said in court" about Jacobs, though it would not focus solely on her.

Witnesses in the sexual harassment trial of Colonel Eugene Motati of the directorate's foreign relations division pointed Jacobs out as being behind the intimidation of officers to make false claims of harassment against Motati.

Motati was exonerated by senior military judge Lieutenant Colonel Len Els after witnesses' testimony implicated Jacobs.

Motati was placed on "leave on instruction" in June last year after one of his subordinates, Corporal Sannie Mehlape, accused him of simulating sex on her from behind in full view of his colleagues.

Corporal Nonhlanhla Malinga testified that a colleague, known as Flight Sergeant Steenkamp, had tried to force her to make a false statement against Motati.

Malinga told the court that Steenkamp told her she was acting on Jacobs' instructions.

But Jacobs denied the allegations at a separate court hearing in Pretoria this month.

She said she was insulted by the allegations because they also implied she was racist.

Malinga was cleared of charges of crimen injuria against Jacobs last week after judge Lieutenant Colonel Elizabeth Coetzer found that Jacobs' evidence against her was based on hearsay.

Mothlabane said a "request for the cancellation of Motati's leave on instruction" had been submitted but could not comment on possible action against Jacobs.

"The South African Air Force respects the outcome of the court case and is not in a position to respond to allegations as made during the testimony of a witness," Mothlabane said.

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