SANDF mum on soldiers illegal march case

In 2009, soldiers were suspended after being accused of disobeying a command to return to base.

FILE: A demonstration by the soldiers turned violent leading to a confrontation with police. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has refused to comment on when the 600 soldiers suspended after participating in an illegal march in Pretoria will return to work.

In 2009, a demonstration by the soldiers at the Union Buildings turned violent leading to a confrontation with police.

In August last year, the Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that the SANDF had acted unfairly by taking disciplinary action against them for participating in an illegal march.

The defence union's Pikkie Greef says they will again turn to the courts to force the SANDF to comply with the order.

Defence force spokesperson Xolani Mbanga was asked when the soldiers would be allowed to return to work but he instead accused the union of playing political games.

"The SANDF is not in a position to play political games, if [National Secretary of the South African National Defence Union] Sandu wants to play political games let them go ahead."

The soldiers have been on special leave on full salaries since 2009.

They were accused of disobeying a command to return to base.