Few seek leave to fight in other countries

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Cape Town - In a period of 16 years 20 South Africans had sought permission to join a foreign military force involved in armed conflict, Dumisani Dladla of the Department of Defence’s National Conventional Arms Control Committee said.

Dladla was approached amid allegations by local activists that South Africans had joined the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) and were fighting in the conflict in Palestine.

Dladla refused to reveal whether the applications had been granted. He also would not say when the applications were lodged and which countries the applicants wanted to serve.

Under the constitution, no citizen may participate in armed conflict nationally or internationally unless a law allowing it is passed.

In 1998 the Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act was passed, compelling South Africans to get authorisation from the National Conventional Arms Control Committee and the minister of defence before they can join a foreign army.

“W

here military assistance has been rendered without the due authorisation, such acts are considered unlawful and are subject to the relevant sanctions,” Dladla said. He did not explain the sanctions.

Shaheed Mahomed, from the Action Forum in Support of Palestine, lodged a complaint at the Cape Town Central Police Station two weeks ago about a 21-year-old Milnerton man who, he alleged, was fighting in the IDF without permission.

“We

are going to campaign for a life sentence or multiple life sentences,” said Mahomed.

In 2009 the Palestinian Solidarity Alliance and the Media Review Network gave the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) a dossier which they said contained evidence of over 70 South Africans serving in the IDF.

NPA spokesman Nathi Mncube said the investigation was still open. A Constitutional Court decision was awaited for guidelines on how to handle such matters.

SAPS spokesman Andrè Traut confirmed the police were looking at the recent complaints by activists.

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Cape Times


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