Troops deployed in KZN have received meal allowances, says union

A military vehicle in Durban during looting across the city. File photo.
A military vehicle in Durban during looting across the city. File photo.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Troops deployed under Operation Prosper in KwaZulu-Natal have been paid their meal allowances, the SA National Defence Union (Sandu) said on Thursday.

The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) acknowledged earlier this week that there had been challenges regarding the provision of ration packs and meal allowance payments in the province.

“The delays were because of administration errors. These delays have been urgently addressed and the challenges largely resolved,” said SANDF spokesperson Brig-Gen Mafi Mgobozi in a statement that also scoffed at “baseless insinuations aimed at causing panic in the country” over the issue.

EFF leader Julius Malema had earlier tweeted: “The army is threatening to withdraw.” The tweet was accompanied by a message from an unnamed soldier in KwaZulu-Natal who alleged that deployed soldiers had not received food supplies and were having to buy their own meals.

“It is outright disingenuous to suggest or to insinuate that soldiers are starving and are considering withdrawing from the operation,” said Mgobozi.

“Confirmation from troops on the ground has been provided to the SA National Defence Union that as of 11pm on August 25, payment of meal allowances to SANDF troops deployed under Operation Prosper in KZN have been effected,” the union said on Thursday.

“Sandu has subsequently confirmed same to the minister of defence through legal correspondence. 

“Sandu is of the view that had the SANDF been adequately funded then the seamless provision of rations to troops would not have been an issue in the first place, as the SANDF would have had adequate access and usage of mobile ration supply vehicles and equipment for this deployment.

“Sandu therefore will not cease to propagate for better funding of the SANDF and in this regard again expresses the hope that the new minister of defence will successfully pursue this issue.”

The union's legal correspondence with newly appointed defence minister Thandi Modise expressed thanks for “any intervention your office executed pursuant to our previous letter and our clients wish to express the hope that similar situations will not reoccur under your ministry.”