Disgruntled soldiers warn of 'military way'
Expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema plans to destabilise South Africa, it has been claimed.
Intelligence gathered by several agencies purports to show that Malema has a well-orchestrated plan to "sponsor an Arab Spring" in this country that includes targeting the military, intelligence agencies, police, metro police, universities and the mines.
S A Security Forces' Union president Bheki Mvovo said yesterday that, by exploiting the plight of soldiers and disempowered workers, Malema had several targets in his sights.
"It is a systematic attempt to destabilise the country - this is the very real danger that South Africa is now facing," Mvovo said.
"This is not the way to do things. It is opportunistic and dangerous.
"We are discouraging our members from attending such future meetings because he is not genuine about his intentions."
A police union insider, who asked not to be named, said Malema's strategy included attacking unions close to the government by appearing to be sympathetic to disgruntled civil servants.
Brian Dube, spokesman for the inspector-general of intelligence, refused to be drawn on the "speculation" about Malema's intentions, but national police spokesman Brigadier Phuti Setati said the police had not received information on the allegations.
Unisa criminologist Rudolf Zinn said the main concern was that Malema would - by targeting key elements in the safety and security services - attempt to cause the collapse of government-controlled institutions.
"As far as the military is concerned, the grievances raised by the soldiers make them susceptible to his intentions. The police and the intelligence services might be different because they do not have the same level of grievances."
The warning was given on the day Malema met a small group of soldiers in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg. The calling of the meeting resulted in all military bases being placed on high alert.
The meeting was monitored by heavily armed police who blocked off several roads. A helicopter circled overhead.
Private Sammy Segone, a leader of the Concerned Soldier Association, stationed at 21 Infantry Battalion in Lenasia, warned the government that the disgruntled soldiers were a "dangerous trade".
"We are equipped and are not afraid to die. This is not a joke. By being here we have chosen a side."
Soldiers were suspended from duty after marching on the Union Buildings during an illegal strike in 2009.
After several court cases, more than 1000 soldiers are still on special leave awaiting military trial.
"We need to expose the corruption and racism which is destroying the organisation. We are not here to destroy South Africa. We took an oath to protect this country but we will not follow illegal orders aimed at destroying South Africa."
Association leader Private Sipho Swelinkomo concurred: "Our message is that there are two ways of doing things. Either the right way or the military way," hinting they would take up arms if necessary.
A senior soldier with links to military intelligence, sent to the meeting to monitor the situation along with plain-clothed colleagues and undercover police officers, said the defence force was ready to act if necessary.
He said: "What is happening is dangerous. Once actions are unleashed there is no turning back ."
In his address, Malema again slammed the government, President Jacob Zuma in particular.
"What is it that is going right in this country? Everything is collapsing. All we are seeing is politicians becoming richer and the poor workers becoming poorer."
Presidential spokesman Mac Maharaj refused to comment.
"We won't legitimise stories . by getting me or the Presidency to comment. You don't expect him [President Jacob Zuma] to comment on this," he said.
"You [journalists] must pay the price and take responsibility for writing stories saying that South Africa is a banana republic because you might believe it."