Soldiers call for Lekota to step down

Members of the South African National Defence Force Union (Sandu) on Friday called for Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota to step down.

Sandu secretary general Pikkie Greef said soldiers marched from the Pretoria City Hall to the Union Buildings at about 10am to hand over a memorandum of their grievances.

They were demanding a 19% salary increment and the dismissal of Lekota and Secretary of Defence January Masilela.

“The Department of Defence is being crippled by weak leadership and bad management,” the memorandum stated.

The union also rejected the 10,5% salary increment, saying that it would be inadequate to “address economic hardships of soldiers and their families”.

The soldiers also marched to protest against the rising prices of food and fuel, Eskom’s proposed tariff increase and xenophobia.

In response to the soldiers’ demands, army chief Lieutenant General Solly Shoke condemned the march.

“It is unheard of in a democratic state for soldiers to ask for the resignation of a minister, a politician or any senior official.

“We as soldiers have to serve the government of the day,” said Shoke.—Sapa

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