Pretoria – South Africa has welcomed a United Nations resolution on the treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons.
On Monday 25 July, assault weapons, explosive ordinance and ammunition were discovered stolen from Simon’s Town Naval Base (SANAD). This serious event could have been prevented had the authorities done their duty many months ago when, on several occasions, they had been warned of a climate of lawlessness and decay taking hold in parts of the base.
This can potentially contaminate the very institution of the Navy, whose primary mission is to protect the country’s coastal sovereignty.
I therefore call for a commission of inquiry into the management of Simon’s Town Naval Base.
In my capacity as a DA Constituency Head in the area that includes Simon’s Town, I have received information from several reliable sources of alleged criminal behaviour and abuse of power which no armed service can tolerate.
These allegations have included, amongst other things, racism, political favouritism and factionalism, interference in line functions, breaching of security and finance protocols, unauthorised use of vehicles, theft of equipment and stores, dereliction of duty and conduct unbecoming, heritage violations and more alarmingly, allegations of seditious (possibly treasonous) behaviour.
In many cases the informants were fearful to lay charges due to threats of intimidation, or worse.
I have had a long association with South Africa’s military and have the greatest of respect for the many thousands of men and women in uniform who serve our country with pride and distinction.
I have deliberately not made political mileage of these matters in the past. Instead I have given advice to complainants on possible courses of action and on other occasions reported the matters to SAPS and the HAWKS at high level.
The fact that many of these allegations point to the involvement of officers of high rank, one in particular, indicates a very grave situation. It is also alleged that the responsible Minister has tried to protect one or several individuals from being disciplined and overruled a recommendation by the chief of the navy to transfer a senior admiral to Pretoria while an investigation was about to happen. This has entrenched a culture of hopelessness, fear and silence.
Last year we had a fire outside the SANAD base that saw civilian homes razed to the ground, there was a fire on-board SAS Amatola this year, alleged breaches of stores in April and now this disastrous theft of weapons. Yet the navy communications remain strangely silent on these matters despite the fact that these incidents can, and have, materially affected the surrounding communities.
On the contrary, relationships with the local community, historically a ’navy’ town, are strained and at times alienated. Is this official policy?
This cannot continue. People who are privileged to lead our armed services have to be above reproach – morally and professionally. Individuals who tolerate a culture of ill-discipline, contempt for the rule of law, entitlement and empire building have no place in a nation’s military. This is how ‘war lords’ take root.
The situation at Simon’s Town Naval Base is now critical and an investigation, in the interests of every dedicated sailor – and South Africa, is overdue.
Mark Wiley MPP
A former colonel has found himself in the dock for murder, attempted murder and for stealing weapons and selling them to gangs.
Full Article: News Western Cape Category RSS – Ex-cop accused of murder, stealing weapons –
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