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Secrecy surrounding report of soldiers’ commission is unacceptable

The SA National Editors’ Forum is disturbed at the reported statement of Judge Ronnie Bosielo, who is heading the commission inquiring into conditions of service, accommodation and salaries of South African soldiers, that his final report to Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu will not be made public.

Judge Bosielo has already raised the alarm over the reportedly deplorable conditions endured by SA’s army personnel by referring to the defence force as “a ticking time-bomb” in a report to parliament’s committee on defence.

In view of the near mutiny of soldiers who demonstrated outside the Union Buildings in Pretoria in August against their “untenable” conditions, their firing by the minister and reinstatement some weeks later, it is essential that the final report and its recommendations be disclosed to the public. Apart from those considerations, the public have a right to know what treatment is being meted out to people employed in the service of the country.

Sanef recognizes that the minister and government have claims on seeing the report first and dealing with its contents, but this is no excuse for stating that the contents will not be revealed to the public.
Sanef calls on Judge Bosielo and Minister Sisulu to ensure that the report is published.