Our soldiers need better conditions

THE South African National Military Veterans Association welcomes the decision by Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu to set up an independent commission to look at working conditions of members of the South African National Defence Force.

We hope that the recommendations by the commission will improve the conditions and lives of our soldiers.

This must serve as a lesson to the department that taking advantage of our soldiers because they do not have the right to strike is not the route to take.

Our soldiers work very hard to protect SA citizens and those of other countries in Africa. This is a great sacrifice, yet they are paid peanuts and their working conditions are poor.

I hope the department will not wait for the soldiers to go on strike before taking action and starting to redress their issues.

We would welcome a permanent independent commission that will from time to time look into issues affecting our soldiers. You cannot take soldiers with very low morale, or anybody for that matter, in to a war situation and hope to win.

These poor conditions have seen a number of experienced soldiers leave the force and become mercenaries, fighting wars and battles that are not their own.

We have had reports that our soldiers are mercenaries in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries.

We hope our soldiers' lives will really improve.

Vuyisile Wauchope, SANMVA publicity secretary, Johannesburg