Johannesburg - The SA National Defense Union (Sandu) has claimed victory following a ruling that the SA National Defense Force (SANDF) may not prosecute soldiers outside the military justice system.
According to Sandu national secretary, Pikkie Greeff more than 500 soldiers had been put on “special leave” after the SANDF constituted disciplinary proceedings against them for taking part in a march to the Union Buildings in 2009.
The hearing was presided over by retired Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo.
“The disciplinary enquiry had no jurisdiction to try breaches of the Military Discipline Code,” explained Ngcobo in his judgement.
Greeff said the union argued that SANDF had no constitutional and legal right to evade its own military court system.
“The fact is had the SANDF, from 2009, simply used their own military courts to trial the affected soldiers, the matter would long since have been put to rest.
“Instead the SANDF took poor legal advice and lost twice in the Supreme Court of Appeal, both times attempting to fire soldiers without hearing,” said Greeff.
The union now demands that all its members, who are on special leave, be allowed to return to work.
It has also vowed to sue the force for career stagnation suffered by the affected members.
“This union will not hesitate to enforce this demand through an order of court,” Greeff added.