Cii News, Pic: Oupa Nkosi M&G | 12 September 2012
The former leader of the ANC Youth League, Julius Malema is expected to addresses soldiers in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg today.
Reports indicate that as a result military bases in South Africa have been placed on high alert.
This is the first time since under democratic rule that a citizen with no political party backing has addressed soldiers.
It is understood that several ministers belonging to the security cluster held close door meetings last night, a sign of the worry that the planned gathering has generated.
The military base in Lenasia is home to many of the disgruntled soldiers that protested against government previously.
The Friends of the ANC Youth League said Malema has responded to a plea from the soldiers and will listen to their “cries and demands”.
The Times is reporting that, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula issued a strongly worded statement which said, in part, that ill-discipline in the military was a direct threat to the country’s security.
“It has been the expressed intention of Malema that his activities in the mining sector are aimed at rendering the sector ‘ungovernable’, thereby undermining the economy. The country cannot afford for similar instability in the military. The SANDF is the last line of defence of the sovereignty of the country. We cannot allow anyone to play political football with this institution,” she said.
Mapisa-Nqakula said any attempt to destabilise the military would be regarded as anti-South African and counter-revolutionary at the highest level.
“It is not going to be tolerated. It must be stated in no unclear terms that the military operates within an environment of command and control wherein discipline forms an integral part.
“Any actions outside this realm will be dealt with decisively by the chief of the SANDF.
“The minister calls on all members of the SANDF and the public to distance themselves from these actions of Malema.
“No permission has been granted by the SANDF’s command structures for any soldiers to participate in the proposed gathering.
“Any member who does without proper permission will be subjected to the disciplinary code of the SANDF. The compromise of discipline within the SANDF is a threat to the security of our country and all our people.”
The Times also quoted Defence Ministry spokesman Siphiwe Dlamini saying that all bases had been placed on “high alert”.
“The situation is being monitored. We cannot elaborate. Directives have been issued to base commanders and certain steps are being taken,” he said.
Dlamini said it was the first time that something like this had happened in the military.
“The military is a non-partisan organisation … this is being viewed as incitement … which is a criminal offence … it will be treated as such,” Dlamini said.
Tags: Lenasia, malema, SANDF, soldiers