1000 soldiers accused of crime

FILE PICTURE: Members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). Picture: Supplied.

More than 1000 SANDF soldiers were accused of crime in the past four years and a fifth of those were convicted, the defence ministry has disclosed.

In response to a parliamentary question tabled on Wednesday, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said the crimes included 10 cases of attempted murder, 614 cases of common assault, 284 of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and 45 cases of aggravated robbery. Another 57 soldiers were accused of drug-related crimes.

In total, the cases resulted in 217 convictions, including four of attempted murder.

Democratic Alliance defence spokesman David Maynier, who asked the question, accused the minister of failing to disclose the full extent of criminality in the military’s ranks.

He said she omitted allegations of sexual abuse against 14 SANDF members stationed in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“These serious crimes are clearly not included in the data provided by the minister. We have to get to the bottom of what is being done to deal with criminality in the SANDF.”

Mapisa-Nqakula’s special adviser, Mike Rangoma, rejected Maynier’s suggestion that the reply was incomplete and if there were any offences not included in the response, it was because they did not occur during the period under review.

“We submit that we have responded in full and we submit that we responded satisfactorily,” he told Sapa.

Rangoma added that the minister did not spell out a strategy to deal with criminality because Maynier had merely asked for figures and they did not respond to his “unmentioned intentions”.

He said Maynier had referred to the allegations of sexual abuse in another parliamentary question, and the ministry was composing its reply to that.

Sapa



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