Defiant Van Dyk ready to resume duty

Defiant Van Dyk ready to resume duty
Defiant Van Dyk ready to resume duty

Since 2010, Phillip van Dyk’s life has been shrouded by suspicion and humiliation. But, after five long years, the 53-year-old is ready to rip off the shackles and start living again.

The first step the Officer Commanding of the Army Support Base in Potchefstroom will take is right back into his office on Monday, 1 June.
This personal triumph comes after the ruling handed down by the High Court in Pretoria, just last week, in which his suspension was set aside.
Van Dyk was suddenly suspended on 1 April 2010 after it was alleged that he was involved in financial offences
totalling R15-million.
“I was accused of owning a few guesthouses in Potchefstroom,” he said.
“Apparently, I had a stake in several tenders and stole money from the
army. They implied I was living this supposed life of grandeur in Potch.”
As Officer Commander, van Dyk once enjoyed the status associated with the rank. It often placed him alongside the likes of the mayor of Potch and the rector of the NWU. But, within a matter of hours, he became the villain.
“I went from hero to zero and was the talk of the town, hogging the headlines for all the wrong reasons,” explained the father of two.
Although still on the payroll, van Dyk has had to sit at home missing out on five years of promotion possibilities, salary increases and leave, to name just a few. Losses aside, he has also had to face his predicament on a daily basis with little chance of escape.
“For example, my gardener asks me why I don’t go to work in the mornings. It’s embarrassing. Or, when I walk in town or in the mall, everyone corners me and wants to know what’s going on with the case. I am reminded of it all the time.”
After years of nothing coming to a head, van Dyk and his legal team decided to take action at the beginning of 2015. No hint of evidence against him had ever come to the fore.
Progress was made last Thursday, however when the state declared that all attempts to consult with the military regarding the matter were in vain. As a result, they had no option but to lift the suspension and dismiss the criminal charges against him.
Van Dyk acknowledges there will always be a band of doubters around.
“There are still people who believe that I am guilty. As they say in Afrikaans, ‘waar daar ‘n rokie is, is daar ‘n vuurtjie.’ But if nothing can be proved in five years, there is something fishy.” He was quick to mention the incredible support he received from the South African National Defence Union (Sandu). Advocate Pikkie Greeff has stood by van Dyk through thick and thin. “Phillip has been left stranded with no sign of any compensation or apology,” said Greeff. “The damage can never be reversed but the SANDF has been issued with a court order. If they don’t agree, we will take all the necessary steps to unblock him.”
A lawsuit against the Defence Force for defamation and career stagnation is also on the cards.
For now, van Dyk who began his military career in Potchefstroom 35 years ago, is ready to report for duty and restore his status that was so callously taken away.
* The Major General who accused Van Dyk was involved in a similar case in August 2013. A deputy commander of the SA Army General Support Base in Bloemfontein was apparently forced to accept being transferred to Limpopo. After following all the grievance channels to register his objection to the move, the Colonel turned to Sandu for assistance. It is alleged that the Major General ignored all grievances and his dishonesty under oath was referred to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to decide on possible prosecution for perjury.

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