South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has announced plans to recall over 500 suspended soldiers to the military after they were placed on a special leave.
The soldiers were suspended by the military and ordered to stay back at home after they flooded the lawns of the Union Buildings in 2009 during a violent protest.
The announcement came following the disciplinary proceedings presided over by retired Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo while the decision was taken after internal consultation with the military command and army legal services
Making the announcement in Pretoria on Tuesday, SANDF chief, Solly Shoke, said the force decided to rope back the suspended soldiers to work “because I am tired of having to pay these troops while they sit at home doing nothing”.
He asserted that the soldiers have been at home for the past 80 months, at a salary bill of about R7 million a month.
However, from Shoke’s announcement, it remains unclear whether the troops will still face disciplinary processes once they return‚ when exactly they will be recalled, and whether they will be redeployed to their home units.
He simply said, “All I can say for now is that they will be called up as individuals. This is because they joined the military as individuals and took their oath to SA as individuals.”
Suspended Soldiers Lose Fight Over Suspension
The soldiers had no choice but to give up challenging their suspension after three failed legal court challenges‚ several interdicts and military disciplinary processes.
In addition, Shoke said he will approach the court to seek clarity on the jurisdiction of civilian courts to intervene in military disciplinary matters.
This was as a result of the South African National Defence Union (SANDU) successfully challenging the lawfulness of the disciplinary action taken against the soldiers on several occasions.
He said, “I will be approaching the courts so that we can address the boundary issues as it impacts discipline in the Defence Force.”