A Pretoria high court judge has ordered the arrest of three top South African National Defence Force (SANDF) commanders for being in contempt of court, according to Eyewitness News.
Judge Mmonoa Teffo ordered the sheriff of the court to find SANDF chief General Solly Shoke, South African Air Force head Lieutenant General Zakes Msimang and Secretary for Defence and Military Veterans Dr Sam Gulube and take them to the nearest prison.
The three commanders are in contempt of court for ignoring an earlier order instructing them to reinstate four employees who had been dismissed.
The national secretary of the South African National Defence Union, Pikkie Greeff, said the four workers were on fixed-term contracts and that “at the end of the contracts [in 2012] there were open posts and they qualified for the posts, but their contracts weren’t renewed” despite there being 32 vacancies at the time. Greeff said the court had ordered the defence force to reinstate them.
The employees fought the matter in court with the union’s help and an order was granted that they be reinstated in June 2012, but the group had not been reemployed by July.
Greeff said the SANDF did not respond to attempts by the union to find out why the employees had not been reinstated and why the defence force had ignored the court order to do so. Top legal advisers to the SANDF told Greeff to “stop threatening them”, he said.
The court ordered the head of the prison where the three commanders are to be held to keep them there until they are discharged legally.
The SANDF told Eyewitness News that it was not immediately available to comment on the court order. – Additional reporting by Sapa