2007-01-28 : Military Museum brings case against SANDF

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2007-01-28 : Military Museum brings case against SANDF

Postby GOSA » Fri, 2007-02-02 10:36


The SA National Museum of Military History is making a civil claim against the SA National Defence Force over a raid on the museum in 2005.

Museum director Major John Keene confirmed a claim is under way, but would not divulge for how much or provide any details.

“I don’t think [this matter] is appropriate for public consumption,” he said.

According to a newspaper report, the claim could cost the Defence Force up to R3 million for unlawful arrest, detention without medical care and pain and suffering.

SANDF spokesman Colonel Petrus Motlhabane would not disclose any details, but acknowledged the matter is currently under litigation.

“The matter has not been settled yet and subsequently no payment has been made,” he said in a statement.

In January 2005 Keene and two curators, Susanne Blendulf and Richard Henry, were arrested after military intelligence and police raided the museum in Saxonwold, Johannesburg. This after receiving information that “war-capable weapons and vehicles” were being stored on the premises. “Police and the SANDF have accused us of stockpiling weapons as if we were preparing for a war,” the museum’s acting director Sandi Mackenzie said at the time.

Three armoured cars and another military vehicle were confiscated.

When the arrests took place, Keene was at the Pretoria Eye Hospital undergoing surgery to his retina. “Upon hearing of the drama at the museum, he went there and was also arrested. After his arrest, he was taken to the hospital under armed guard,” said Mackenzie.

The three were later released without charge.

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