Sisulu not denying soldiers' problems, says deputy

Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu is not denying that there are problems in the working conditions of soldiers, her Deputy Minister Thabang Makwetla said on Wednesday.

After a reserve defence force symposium outside Pretoria, Makwetla told media it was “not accurate” to say the plight of solders had not been acknowledged.

“To say that the minister has seemed reluctant — to acknowledge that we have conditions of employment challenges ... It’s unfair in the extreme.”

Makwetla’s comments come in the wake of a violent protest march over wages and conditions by about 2 000 soldiers at the Union Buildings late last month.

Since then, Sisulu has been adamant that the “ultimate sanction” for striking soldiers be dismissal.

Makwetla said the department was aware that “a lot of work” needed to be done to improve the situation of defence force members to “an acceptable level”.

He also criticised the South African National Defence Union (Sandu) for inciting its members to protest despite a court order declaring it illegal.

“We must get Sandu to recognise you can never play a leadership role and allow anarchy.

“You can never get solutions where there is no discipline and that is not the problem of the minister.”—Sapa

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