Friday, August 28, 2009

South African troops on strike

South Africa has been blighted by riots and social unrest from some months now and in the context of political disunity among the old allies of the ANC there seems to be little light at the end of the tunnel.

With the news that around 1,500 troops went on strike, marched and demanded to see President Zuma demanding a 30% pay rise on top of their concerns that the army is being drafted into law enforcement duties. The police then attacked the striking soldiers and mayhem ensued.

The government now intends to sack every single one of the soldiers saying that they would not tolerate "thuggish behaviour by our armed forces". Although it appears they do tolerate it in their police forces.

Those involved "must accept no sympathy from the state, as the law will take its course... Defying a court order... and attempting to invade the seat of government is totally unacceptable, especially from people who have the responsibility of being the true defenders of the constitution... This is applicable to all types of protests we have seen, which is bordering on hooliganism." *

The demonstration was organised by the South African National Defence Union (SANDU). SANDU national secretary Pikkie Greeff said that soldiers were some of the lowest paid workers in the country. “Soldiers often leave their loved ones at home and put their lives on the line for their country. Our members are part of the country’s poverty problems.”

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