The SA National Defence Force will seek legal advice on expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema’s address to soldiers, the SANDF said on Thursday.
“We want to understand the legality of it and the implication. The meeting between Mr Malema and SANDF members… we need to find the legal basis of that,” said Brig-Gen Xolani Mabanga.
“We cannot think that any member of the public can just go and talk to members of the SANDF.”
Mabanga said it was also unacceptable for SANDF members to invite a person to address them outside defence structures.
“Anybody outside the established military structure and the South African government, that would be out of order. Even if they invited a pastor, or a priest or a bishop or a sangoma or whatever,” Mabanga said.
He said SANDF members who had grievances should use existing structures to voice them and not air them with private individuals such as Malema.
Mabanga said legal advice would not be sought by the SANDF itself, but through its civilian leadership in the department of defence.
On Wednesday, Malema addressed about 60 soldiers in civilian dress at the Lenasia Recreation Centre.
There he criticised the political leadership of the country and accused them of ignoring the needs of SANDF members, including not re-instating the 1100 soldiers put on special leave for protesting at the Union Buildings in 2009.
Mabanga said some of the 60 soldiers at Malema’s speech were among the 1100 members put on special leave and they could face disciplinary action for their attendance.
“They still fall under the military disciplinary code. They’re still members of the SANDF,” Mabanga said.
He said they had been ordered to return to their home units and would now be charged with failing to obey that order.
Some of the other SANDF members had already been dismissed and the military had no jurisdiction over them. – Sapa