MKMVA opposed to unionization of the military

Ayanda Dlodlo says behaviour of protesting soldiers was unacceptable

Statement on the Protest Action by SANDF Members

MKMVA notes the strike by members of the South African National Defence Force and the judgement delivered by the court denying them the right to protest on Wednesday, 26th August 2009. The behaviour of the national defence force members that came from the reaction to the judgement is totally unacceptable as they are the custodian of stability in the country, and this has shown their disrespect for civil-military relations which is an important part of the national defence force values.

What the members of the national defence force displayed to the nation and the world was pure anarchy and disrespect to the oath and duty they are bound by in all their actions. For them to disrespect a constitutional institution after it had laid an order for them, then March illegally to the seat of the government is tantamount to disrespect for the nation they claim to defend.

The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans in her budget vote speech highlighted the issue of addressing the issue of defence members as their morale must always be high. She further stated that they are going to engage on all these matters in the relevant proper channels as this is a necessity that defence members concerns are addressed. Therefore, the protest by the defence force members was unnecessary and compromises the belief in the defence force as a guardian of our sovereignty and Constitution.

As MKMVA we have always opposed the unionization of the security cluster especially defence force, based on the fact that there is a thin line between mutiny and protest action by soldiers. Soldiers are the protectors of the Constitution and their allegiance lies with the country. It is important to highlight that there is always an expectation that a soldier must have pride, honour, duty and sacrifice amongst qualities that define his or her patriotic actions.

We therefore call on the President of the Republic, the Minister of Labour and the Alliance partners to review the unionization of the security cluster, which includes the defence, the police, intelligence and the metro police. It is in the best interests of the nation that the security cluster is de-unionized. The state has a responsibility to take care of them and to make sure they are treated with the dignity deserved of ones who bear allegiance to the flag. There are proper channels of communication within the security cluster and where there is a need for improvement it should be done.

The tendency that is developing whereby everyone protests every time there is a problem without interacting or going through the correct channels is disturbing as it breeds a culture of non-engagement and feeds a culture of unpatriotic citizenship. We must always remember that there are lives that were sacrificed and the cost to attain these freedoms and rights was paid with the highest price that we can never even repay.

Statement issued by Ayanda Dlodlo, national general secretary of MKMVA, August 28 2009

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