SANDF clarifies the discharge of 35 trainee medics who went AWOL in Cuba

SANDF. File Image.

SANDF. File Image.

The members were sent in 2018 to study medicine.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) on Friday released details about the administrative discharge of 35 of its members who went on absent without leave (AWOL) in Cuba.

In a statement, the SANDF said two weeks ago it discharged 35 of its members for going AWOL for more than 30 days while they were on course in Cuba.

The members were sent to Cuba in 2018 to study medicine and had been on AWOL since February 2019. The SANDF said by going AWOL  members contravened the Defence Act and military disciplinary code.

On Friday the SANDF said that it would not tolerate any ill-discipline within the force and drastic action would be taken against any member who brought the defence force into disrepute.

SANDF said in a statement: “In order to attain this goal, the defence force is managed through the guiding principles of the Defence Force Act and the disciplinary code which each member must comply with or else bear the consequences.

“The SANDF wishes to make it clear that by deserting classes, the members were in direct contravention of the Defence Act of 2002 and Military Disciplinary Code.

“Numerous interventions were undertaken to address members’ concerns. Unfortunately, the SANDF had no other option but to administratively discharge the members.”

The SANDF said the Constitution, the Defence Act of 2002, the Military Disciplinary Code and the Code of Conduct were the main pillars of a disciplined soldier. Members who are under instruction and training at any military training institution are subject to these laws and codes.

– African News Agency

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