SASFU backs SANDU in battle with Lindiwe Sisulu

Union's NEC condemns attack by polce on unarmed soldiers in Pretoria

Declaration by NEC

We members of the South African Security Forces Union (SASFU) gathered here at the NEC meeting held from the 29 to 30 of August 2009 having noted the attack of our soldiers unarmed by the SAPS when they were marching to deliver the memorandum to the union building on the 26 of August 2009

Noting that members of the defence force are expose to perpetuated poverty , repossession of houses and families disintegration (divorces) due to low salaries , the deprivation of basic benefit and the long stay in rank without promotions.

Noting that it is the culmination of the compressed anger that manifested during the integration process in 1994, of wrongful ranking of members and the appalling working conditions which members are subject to, and the unwillingness of the defence management to better the conditions of service for members ,the situation which has been exacerbated by the socio-political and economic down turn.

Having noted the above hardship our members exposed to hereby declare that as the union, we are going to fight and defend our members no matter what price it would cost, we further state that we are going to strive for:

  • The implementation of parity on all the security forces as recommended by the then Minister of Defence Charles Ngcakula.in that there is an objective need for the radical realignment of the material benefit of the soldiers with those of the other clusters in order to improve the levels of morale and the standards of conscious and voluntary discipline.
  • There was a need for a joint and mutually driven process of working hard by the union and the ministry in re aligning the activities of the Defence force with the overall objectives of the government's reconstruction and development program particularly in such areas as rural and agrarian development by promoting the establishment of human capital to accelerate the socio economic development.
  • Our members as SASFU were left politically dilapidated by the incident of the 26th August 2009 where the genuine grievances presented by SANDU to the ministry of Defence and Military veterans were silence down by the muzzle of the machine gun fire by the SAPS. The NEC resolved to remain stead fast and redouble its efforts in raising the level of consciousness and the state of organisation and readiness of its members to mobilise societal to expose this deliberate betrayal which has led to the nasty development that we have just seen by exposing our communities to the following root causes of frustration which are as follows:

1. Growing levels of impoverishment of members of the Defence Force.
2. The breaking away of families as the take-home pay has not been forthcoming from the employer.
3. The intransigence of the current Minister of Defence (MOD)despite her colourful budget speech to meet and address soldiers expectations and despite numerous  efforts to secure her availability.
4. The deliberate brutal and violent suppression of unarmed peaceful marching soldiers by armed police. 

The session agrees as follows:

Our understanding is that the present government of President Jacob Zuma, the Commander in Chief of the SANDF, is a peoples government that prioritizes engagement and ears to the ground, however ms Lindiwe Sisulu has failed to embrace the new culture of the post Polokwane ANC.  The majority of the members that took part in the march are the poor workers that threw all their power in mobilizing the communities for a decisive ANC victory in the past elections.  That was done as the ANC promised to engage in the culture of consultation.  We will therefore not allow a situation where we vote people into public office, but they become arrogant and find all manners to expel our members from their employment.

The NEC is also warning that the leadership of MKMVA must refrain from issuing un mandated opinions on the existence of unions in the security cluster (see here).  This anti-trade union stance has also been shared by the DA shadow minister of Defence (see here), and the leadership of the movement must avoid conflicting the constitution and the valued traditions of our struggle.It is our understanding that as members of MKMVA they have got an obligation to uphold the uncompromising attitudes of the following founding fathers of MK from the rank of the trade union movement i.e J.B Max , Moses Kotane ,M .Mabida, Vuyisile Mini who refused to succumb to the politics of subservience and inferiority at the expense of the exploitation of the working class and the poor. 

In order to allow a peaceful resolution of the present impasse the NEC resolved that the following should be done:

A. Ministry to immediately release all the arrested aggrieved soldiers and immediately set up an independent investigation of the alleged acts of provocation by the members of SAPS.
B. To mobilize all workers irrespective of organizational affiliation including communities to call for the withdrawal of the intended dismissal of 3000 family men and to drop these charges.
C. Immediate public response by the MOD to all the demands presented to the ministry in order to reunite the broken families.
D. The minister to immediately reconvene the suspended process towards the finalization of the military bargaining council to avoid any further criminalization of labour related disputes in military tribunals.

SASFU cannot allow the situation where the soldiers are the worst paid in the Security cluster and we maintain the view of parity in the remuneration of the security cluster.

The NEC ill  mandate the NOBs to develop a program of rolling mass actions on the soldiers wage / salary demands.

The NEC took a decision on further litigation and the warrant to arrest the Minister of Defence and the Surgeon General on their contempt of the High Court ruling on the HiV and AiDS practice in the SANDF.

Statement issued by Commissar Fieldmore Mapeto, South African Security Forces Union national organiser, August 30 2009

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