Soldiers placed on suspension seven years ago now have to work for their pay

The more than 500 South African soldiers suspended after they stormed the lawns of the Union Buildings in 2009 in a violent protest are to be recalled to the military.

Three failed legal court challenges‚ several interdicts and military disciplinary processes have seen the soldiers sitting at home on full leave since they clashed with police.

The decision‚ said Shoke‚ was made "because I am tired of having to pay these troops while they sit at home doing nothing".

It is not clear from his announcement whether the troop will still face disciplinary processes once they return‚ when exactly they are to be recalled and whether they will be reposted to their home units.

"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 South Africa as individuals."

Shoke hinted at possible further legal clashes between the SANDF and the troops union‚ SA Defence Union‚ which has been a thorn in the military's side over the troops discipline process.

"We need to go to court to have boundaries defined between what is the jurisdiction of military and civilian court."

He would also not elaborate on whether the SANDF would also challenge the fact that soldiers are constitutionally entitled to join a union.

"When we tried to first discipline the soldiers‚ they sought external help. Every time we have tried to discipline them for this unbecoming behaviour‚ they have sought external help.

"This has seen us moving to and fro between military and civilian courts. We have consulted with the various commanders and our legal experts and have decided to recall these soldiers.

"As a member of the Defence Force they will be subjected to the codes applicable in the military and will have to do what is expected of them."

- TMG Digital/The Times The announcement made by the chief of the South African National Defence Force‚ Solly Shoke‚ in Pretoria on Tuesday. File photo

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