Former Khoisan soldiers have lost a court bid to be considered for re-integration into the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).
The High Court in Pretoria dismissed an application on Friday by the leader of the Khoisan Kingdom and All People Party.
They had sought a court order forcing Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu to negotiate with more than 14 000 former soldiers about their re-integration into the SANDF.
Judge Moses Mavundla said the minister did not have any powers to deal with issues of integration as that process was over, but urged her to address their concerns in the spirit of the constitution.
“The matter essentially concerns and reveals, in my view, a pitiable situation of a people who made a historical, myopic and politically naive choice of siding with the hitherto oppressive and apartheid regime in its world-condemned quest to resist democracy, both in Namibia and South Africa,” he said.
It concerned the plight of a people who allowed themselves to be misused by their master in resisting the democratic winds of change in Southern Africa.
“It is a people who were funnelled as soldiers in the notorious Koevoet, through the Cape Corps, 21 Battalion, 1 SAI, 115 Battalion, 3 SAI Battalion and other units, coming particularly from the so-called coloureds and the Khoisan,” said Mavundla.
“The latter (were) renowned for their tracking prowess, misused in tracing freedom fighters who were infiltrated both in Namibia and South Africa.
“It is a people abandoned by their master, who had scant respect or regard for (them) and was (not in the) least bothered to secure them a place in the new SA National Defence Force,” he said.
Mavundla said that when the process took place in 1994 to integrate the SA Defence Force and the defence forces of the so-called independent homelands with the armed wing of the ANC (MK), the Azanian People's Army (APLA) and the armed wing of the PAC, these soldiers were left out.
“... These left-out soldiers were informed that they had to make way for the non-statutory forces that were to be siphoned into the integrated SANDF.
“It would seem, according to the applicant, that those left-out soldiers are no longer receiving any salary,” he said.
Mavundla said it was common cause that the integration process had long come and gone in terms of the Termination of Integration Intake Act of 2001.
It appeared that all efforts to address the plight of these left-out soldiers, including pleas that they be afforded a hearing, had come to naught.
Mavundla dismissed the applicant's claim that a reasonable legitimate expectation had been created that they would be afforded a hearing.
“... There exists presently no legal framework in terms of which the respondent can integrate the left-out members of the applicant,” he said.
“... The expectation of the applicants, in my view, cannot therefore be legitimate.” - Sapa