SANDF Chief Solly Shoke has reacted swiftly to claims that the ANC invited along some of the army’s senior members to discuss party-political matters this week. It has been reported that some high-ranking officials had been asked to attend talks within the ruling party, contradicting the values of the military code.
SANDF members ‘invited to ANC discussions’
As Shoke was keen to stress, SANDF must ‘remain above politics’ no matter what. The invited members, who have not yet been allowed the chance to go to the meeting, have been sternly warned against discussing matters related to the ANC.
In a statement issued late on Tuesday, Shoke insisted that ‘there will never be any authorisation’ for his colleagues to take part in such discussions, branding the political stunt as ‘petty’. He also warned soldiers against discussing politics at all while they are serving representatives of SANDF – or any South African military force.
Solly Shoke reacts to ‘political neutrality’ criticism
“It has come to my attention that there is panning for a meeting where several senior SANDF members have been – or will be – invited to discuss matters currently affecting the ruling party. It must be categorically stated, in no uncertain terms, that no SANDF member is authorised to attend such meetings to discuss petty political matters.”
“The SANDF remains an organisation that’s above party politics, serving the sovereign security interests of the Republic as mandated by the Constitution. We distance ourselves from any calls to discuss politics, and we’d like to sternly warn any member of the army against discussing party politics in the name of the military.”
- You can find the full statement from SANDF here
The DoD just issued this strongly worded press release from the head of the SANDF forbidding senior officers from attending a political party meeting to which they have apparently been invited. This should be taken seriously: Any threat to the SANDF’s impartiality is a big deal. pic.twitter.com/vUlNmCcA4f
— Darren Olivier (@darren_olivier) September 22, 2020