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Honorary colonel Brian Molefe “assists” with Dept of Defence auditing queries

Honorary colonel Brian MolefeThe rank of honorary colonel is a ceremonial one and apparent revelations that one honorary colonel is being paid for work done assisting with “auditing queries” has raised the ire of the SA Security Forces Union (SASFU).

The honorary colonel in question is Brian Molefe who has reportedly held this rank with Reserve Force unit, the SA Irish Regiment, since 2009.

Afrikaans weekly Rapport has it that Molefe was called up indefinitely for active service. The Afrikaans newspaper said it saw payroll information showing the former Eskom chief executive and short-lived Member of Parliament was registered for military pay on August 23 adding it was backdated to August 17 enabling him to receive his first military salary at the end of August.

Rapport also states the payroll system it had sight of shows Molefe was called up for four days in 2010 and earned R4 006 for this period.

SASFU president Charles Jacobs said in a statement Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula should reverse the decision making Molefe an honorary colonel and “recover all monies paid to him”.

The military trade union further maintains the Molefe matter is “a case of corruption” and wants appropriate action taken.

“SASFU will not sit back and watch the integrity of the defence force dragged through the mud. Should we feel failed by the authorities, we will not hesitate to take whatever action is needed to ensure the integrity of the defence force is not eroded,” Jacobs is reported as saying.

Reserve Force members are generally called up for a maximum of three months at any one time, a part-time officer told defenceWeb. Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said military call-ups were “for many” part-time soldiers the only work they could get. “It doesn’t seem right that an honorary colonel, who should not receive remuneration apart from an honorarium, can be called up for an indefinite period while soldiers whose families are dependent on the military salary are finding service days cut.”

According to the Department of Defence 2017 Annual Performance Plan 1.817 million mandays are scheduled for the current financial year, dropping to 1.571 million in 2018/19 and climbing slightly to 1.692 million in 2019/20.

Department of Defence head of communications, Siphiwe Dlamini, is reported as saying Molefe was part of a pool of specialists who assist the department and the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) with “auditing queries” from the Auditor General.

National Secretary of the South African National Defence Union (Sandu), Pikkie Greeff, said Molefe's SANDF appointment/call up “is unlawful and a criminal offense. He and those who appointed him have committed fraud.”