The statement, released yesterday by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), explained the reasons for the administrative discharge of its 35 members.
Two weeks ago, the members who were sent to Cuba in 2018 to study medicine were discharged. It turned out that instead of attending the lectures they were absent without leave (AWOL) for more than 30 days since February 11, 2019.
“The SAMHS Command Structure, after numerous interventions, finally decided to administratively discharge students studying medicine in the Republic of Cuba. All 35 students who were administratively discharged are back home and accounted for,” the statement read.
The SANDF confirmed that by going AWOL those members contravened the Defence Act of 2002 and military disciplinary code.
“The defence force is managed through the guiding principles of the Defence Force Act and the disciplinary code which each member must comply with or else bear the consequences,” the statement claimed. “The SANDF will therefore not tolerate any ill-discipline within the SANDF and drastic action will be taken against any member who brings the defence force into disrepute.”
The SANDF has signed training agreements with different countries in order to empower its members. Before the discharge, there were 202 SANDF members undergoing professional training in Cuba. Apart from medicine studies, the training includes such courses as air traffic control, armament and radio technician and tank transporter.