The parliamentary portfolio committee on Defence, Home Affairs and Security intends to summon service chiefs to Parliament to address a recent spike in armed robbery cases involving serving and discharged members of the uniformed forces.
A member of the committee, Retired Brigadier General Callisto Gwanetsa, the former 2 Brigade Deputy Commander, told Business Times that they felt the issue needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. Said Gwanetsa:
This is a very topical issue, we have compiled all robbery incidents involving members of the security sector.
I have been communicating with the Chairperson of the committee (Retired Brigadier-General Levi Mayihlome), and we intend to call in the commanders so that we get to understand what could be the motive.
We know it is going to cause a lot of talk among parliamentarians and society as a whole, but we are saying we cannot just look and watch as things unfold like that and we will sit as a committee to try and find out what is going on and what could be the solution to that problem.
Gwanetsa believes that poor remuneration could be a major factor pushing members of the security services to commit violent crimes. He added:
The problem is very simple, it hinges on the financial aspect, it hinges on the fundamental issue of conditions of service the security personnel, that is what is driving them to do this but once we talk in terms of such issues, how best do we resolve it, do they get enough of what they have been promised.
The country has witnessed several armed robberies involving serving members of the military, with some of the crimes committed by soldiers on duty.