SANDF soldiers strike

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SANDF emblem

Thursday, 6 October 1994

Problems with the integration of " uMkhonto we Sizwe" (MK), the military wing of the African National Congress (ANC) and the Azanian People's Liberation Army (APLA), the armed wing of the Pan-Africanist Congress (PAC) into the South African National Defence Force, took a twist when an estimated 7 500 soldiers went on strike. The former guerrillas refused to return to work until their grievances had been dealt with. They were striking over the slow pace of the three-year integration process, the demeaning ranks allocated to them and also the quality of the food given at their bases.

The striking soldiers were given the highest attention by President Nelson Mandela who ordered General George Meiring to look into their grievances. However, Mandela was adamant that military discipline should not be undermined as this would set a bad precedent in the future. The ANC leadership also issued a statement that while it was aware of the difficulties experienced by ex MK cadres and all non-statutory forces, it strongly appealed to all soldiers to go back to SANDF assembly points, particularly the Wallmannsthal assembly area, as a matter of urgency. Soldiers who did not return to their barracks within seven days would be considered absent without leave.

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References:
• Fraser, R. (1994). Keesing's Record of World Events, Longman: London, p . 40215.
• sahistory, 'integration of uMkhonto we Sizwe',[online],Available at www.sahistory.org.za[Accessed: 27 September 2013]

Last updated : 27-Sep-2013

This article was produced for South African History Online on 16-Mar-2011