SANDF chief distances military from ‘meeting to discuss ANC matters’

General Solly Shoke. Image credit: Facebook/SANDF

SA National Defence Force Chief, General Solly Shoke, has distanced the military from a purported meeting to discuss ANC matters.

In a statement on Wednesday, SANDF said it had come to Shoke’s attention that “serving senior military members” have been invited or will be invited to the meeting.

No authorisation

It added, “General Shoke would like to state categorically, without any contradiction and in no uncertain terms, that no serving member of the SANDF will be or has been authorised to attend such purported meeting to discuss petty party-political matters.

“The SANDF remains an organisation which is above politics serving the sovereign security interests of the Republic as mandated by the constitution.

“The SANDF military command distances itself from calls to discuss any party-political matter and would like to sternly warn any serving member of the SANDF to guard against discussing any party-politics in the name of the military.”

ANC trip to Zimbabwe

It is unclear what ANC matters the purported meeting was set to discuss. However, an ANC trip to Zimbabwe earlier this month sparked controversy after the delegation used an SANDF jet.

ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule apologised on behalf of the party following claims that it had abused state resources for a party-to-party meeting with ZANU-PF.

He said the ANC will reimburse the state the costs it had incurred. Despite this, Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane confirmed that she will still investigate the ANC trip to Zimbabwe.

President Cyril Ramaphosa also asked Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula for a report on how ANC leaders ended up on her SANDF flight. She earlier stated that she had given them “a lift.”

DA’s PAIA application

Ramaphosa has not yet released the report publicly. Earlier this week, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said it will launch a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application to compel Ramaphosa to release the report.

“We cannot allow a situation where a report, potentially detailing a flagrant abuse of scarce state resources, is viewed and decided upon by President Ramaphosa alone, whose track record in holding his ANC comrades accountable for corruption is depressing.

“The ANC cannot legitimately investigate itself, the President must hand over this report so that checks and balances that are available in our democratic system can properly scrutinise it and hold those found guilty accountable,” the party said.

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