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'HIV-positive soldiers face discrimination'

Sandu says the defence force continues to discriminate against HIV-positive recruits.

FILE: Sandu says the defence force continues to exclude and discriminate against HIV-positive recruits. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The North Gauteng High Court will this morning hear argument about the alleged discrimination against HIV-positive soldiers in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

The South African Defence Union (Sandu) claims the defence force continues to unlawfully exclude new recruits solely on the basis of their HIV status, claiming they are not healthy or fit enough.

This is despite a court order six years ago which ordered the defence force to implement a policy which would eradicate discrimination against HIV-positive recruits.

Sandu secretary Pikkie Greeff says, "Their excuse in this instance is that there were not enough posts for the members that applied and they had to go through a sifting process. And therefore they had to employ the most healthy. What is not allowed is to outright discriminate solely on the basis of someone being HIV-positive."