35 SANDF members discharged for going AWOL in Cuba
Cape Town - The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has clarified the reasons for the administrative discharge of 35 members who were absent without official leave for more than 30 days while on course in Cuba.
The Military Command Council had previously stated clearly that Chapter 11 (Sec. 200) (1.) of the South African Constitution stipulates that;
(1) The defence force must be structured and managed as a disciplined military force.
"The SANDF will therefore not tolerate any ill-discipline within the SANDF and drastic action will be taken against any member who brings the defence force into disrepute," a statement from the military force read.
"In order to attain this goal, the defence force is managed through the guiding principles of the Defence Force Act and the disciplinary code which each member must comply with or else bear the consequences."
The South African Constitution, Defence Act of 2002, Military Disciplinary Code (MDC) and the Code of Conduct are the main pillars of a disciplined soldier the SANDF stated, and members who are under instruction and training at any military training institution, whether in South Africa or abroad, are subject to these laws and codes.
The SANDF has signed training agreements with various countries in order to empower its members, of which Cuba is but one.
"The foundation of these agreements is that when the SANDF sends its members abroad, they only undergo training in recognised institutions of learning. In return, the members as ambassadors representing all South Africans, are trusted to preserve the SANDF’s and our country’s image," the statement continued.
"The SANDF wishes to make it clear that by deserting classes, the members were in direct contravention of the Defence Act of 2002 and Military Disciplinary Code. Numerous interventions were undertaken to address members’ concerns. Unfortunately the SANDF had no other option but to administratively discharge the members."@TheCapeArgus