Tuesday, July 17, 2018
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SAAF Chief apparently suspended – no comment from SANDF

SAAF Chief suspendedSA Air Force (SAAF) Chief Lieutenant General Zakes Msimang is apparently on special leave after being suspended from duty.

defenceWeb was reliably informed of the suspension on Monday. At the time of publication no response had been received from either SA National Defence Force (SANDF) directorate; corporate communications or SAAF media liaison to a request for information on the suspension. This was after urgent emails to both offices and telephonic follow-ups.

A source close to the air force, but not in uniform, told defenceWeb the three star general was suspended while at least two allegations against him are investigated.

The first apparently relates to illegal usage of an official M vehicle (military, in this instance the Mercedes-Benz Msimang has as an official vehicle). The registration plates were apparently changed to civilian ones. Indications are his driver/bodyguard drove the vehicle while it was using a registration plates that did not belong to it. This was apparently found out when a number of traffic fines were issued for the vehicle.

The second allegation concerns funding for a children’s project Msimang and his wife are said to be part of.

Msimang was appointed SAAF chief in September 2012 taking over from Lieutenant General Carlo Gagiano and became the first black officer to head the military aviation service of the SANDF. He previously served as squadron commander, base commander and systems director in the SAAF.

No further information was available at the time of publication. Apart from not commenting on the suspension SANDF and SAAF media liaison also provided no information on any possible board of inquiry, its terms of reference and work timeframe.