MEDIA RELEASE BY DEPARTMENT  OF DEFENCE

COURT RULING IN THE LEGAL MATTER BETWEEN THE SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL DEFENCE FORCE AND THE SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL DEFENCE UNION

Date of release 01 December 2010

The Department of Defence and Military Veterans (DODMV) notes the decision of the court and are relieved that the judgment because it has held us up for more than a year. The ruling allows the Department to thoroughly address this matter and deal with the shameful conduct of ill disciplined soldiers. Our resolve to ensure that the SA National Defense Force remains a structured and well managed and disciplined Force is unshaken.

The Department wishes to state that this is a Pyrrhic victory as it does not prevent us from continuing with the very action and processes we would have undertaken.

We wish to re-iterate the obvious that the provisions of the RSA Constitution Section 198(d) which states that "National Security is subject to the authority of parliament and the national executive."  The Department also emphasizes that national security is inextricably interwoven with the provisions of Section 200 which require that the "Defence Force must be structured and managed as a disciplined Military Force."  

It must be stated that the responsibility of disciplining soldiers and the Command and Control is not a shared responsibility but, is a sole responsibility of the Chief of the SANDF.

The court may deem the notices deficient or may find procedural infirmities in the manner we dealt with the soldiers slated for dismissal but we are resolute.  We shall correct the procedural infirmities and move with expedition towards the finalisation of the process which may lead to dismissal of these men and women.  Ill-disciplined soldiers have no place in the SANDF and failure to act firmly may itself be a breach of the constitutional provisions requiring that the "Defence Force must be structured and managed as a disciplined Military Force."                                                               

In the circumstances, we will abide by the court order in as far as it relates to the unlawfulness of the notice issued on the 30th August 2009 (Notice of intended Administrative Discharge: Dismissal Members of the SANDF) in as far as the interdict pending finalisation of a dispute referred to the Military Bargaining Council (MBC) and if it is not resolved in the MBC to be referred to the Military Arbitration Board (MAB), we reserve our right to appeal against this decision and we will apply to court for the judge to reconsider and clarify the order as it relates to the MBC and MAB.

We believe that the judge erred in making a finding that the issue of discipline is an issue to be decided by the MBC and the MAB. Discipline is non-negotiable in the military and is not a shared responsibility.

ENDS.
Issued by:        Defence Corporate Communication
                           (Defence Media Liaison Pretoria
Enquiries:        Mr Siphiwe Dlamini
                        083 645 4294
                        012 355 6105