n Journal of Public Administration - Military trade unions in South Africa : a reality since 1999. Positive externalities?

Volume 38, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



On 26 May 1999 the Constitutional Court of South Africa ruled in favour of members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) been granted labour rights and to join military trade unions (MTUs); to partake in their activities; to engage in collective bargaining; and to enjoy fair labour practices. A labour rights policy was drafted for the SANDF and implemented on 26 August 1999. A Military Bargaining Council (MBC) was established where negotiations with the MTUs take place in order to address matters of a collective nature.

Two prominent military trade unions were established - the South African National Defence Force Union (SANDU) and the South African Security Forces Union (SASFU). It was mainly due to the efforts of the Chairperson of SANDU that military trade unions were legalised in South Africa. Now, three years after the watershed decision by the Constitutional Court, the question can be asked what the positive contributions of MTUs were for their members.

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