12 September 2012

South Africa: SANDF Members Urged to Distance Themselves From Malema

Photo: Werner Beukes/SAPA
Expelled ANC Youth league president Julius Malema arrives to listen to the grievances of soldiers in Johannesburg.

Pretoria — The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has called on all members of the SANDF to distance themselves from the actions of Julius Malema.

This announcement follows reports about the intentions of the former ANC Youth League leader to address members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) on Wednesday, on issues relating to their grievances.

"There has been no permission granted by the command structures of the SANDF for any soldiers to participate in the proposed gathering. Any member who participates in such a meeting without proper permission will be subjected to the disciplinary code of the SANDF. The compromise of discipline within the structures of the SANDF is a threat to the security of our country and all our people," the minister said.

Mapisa-Nqakula said it has been the expressed intention of Malema that his activities in the mining sector are aimed at rendering the sector "ungovernable" thereby undermining the economy.

"The country cannot afford for similar instability to be stoked within the military. The SANDF is the last line of defence of both the sovereignty and integrity of the country and we cannot allow anyone to play political football with this institution.

"At the very least any attempt to destabilize the military should be regarded as anti-South African and counter revolutionary at the highest level! It is simply not going to be tolerated," the minister said.

The minister finds it opportunistic and disturbing that the meeting by Malema is being convened at a time when the SANDF has established the South African National Defence Services Commission to deal with issues relating to conditions of service for members.

A Military Ombudsman has also been appointed by the former Minister of Defence and Military Veterans to deal with grievances of members of the SANDF.

"It must be stated in no unclear terms that the military operates within an environment of command and control wherein discipline forms an integral part. Legitimate grievances of members are to be addressed within the avenues outlined above. Any actions outside this realm will be dealt with decisively by the Chief of the SANDF," the minister said.

She also called on the South African public in general to disassociate itself from Malema.

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