Police use rubber bullets to disperse soldiers

Tshwane police used rubber bullets and teargas to disperse about 1 000 soldiers attempting to gain access to the Union Buildings in Pretoria, the Defence Department said on Wednesday.

When a group of protesters tried to climb over the first fence leading on to the property police retaliated with the “necessary force”, spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya said.

“As the protesters were leaving they damaged some cars and set alight a military vehicle.”

One protester was slightly injured.
 
Earlier on Wednesday the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria dismissed an application by the South African National Defence Union (Sandu) to force the defence force to allow soldiers to march to the Union Buildings in a protest over wages.

“Sandu must take responsibility for this. As the Ministry of Defence and military veterans we are going to be sending Sandu legal documents with a matter of urgency.”

He said damages to state property would also be claimed from the union.

“It [the protest] was illegal. Sandu has been irresponsible to mobilise and encourage their members.”

Mabaya said the protesters had not been wearing uniform, so it could not be immediately ascertained if they were soldiers, but the process of determining who had not arrived for duty had already begun.

“If any soldier was involved we are going to take the necessary disciplinary procedures.
In the military there are very aggressive steps taken, absent without leave is a very serious crime.”—Sapa

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