DoD owed millions


Five national departments, including the Department of Military Veterans (DMV) and two provincial health departments owe the Department of Defence (DoD) close to R131 million for services rendered.

The single biggest culprit is the DoD’s “sister” department representing South Africa’s old soldiers, irrespective of their affiliation.

The reply to a Parliamentary question indicates over R99 million worth of “medical assistance” to the department, now headed by recently appointed director general Irene Mpolweni, is owed to minister Thandi Modise’s bean counters and indications are at least some of this debt will be written off.

Explaining the large amount owing by the department tasked with the official wellbeing of veterans, the ministerial response notes the medical service provided is an ongoing one with over half the amount outstanding for between one and three years.

“The institution (DMV) has challenges making payments,” questioner Kobus Marais, Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow defence and military veterans minister, was told with the rider “continuous engagements are ongoing” and in “most years” debt incurred is “greater than payments”.

Minister Patricia de Lille’s Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI), long-time partner of the SA Army Engineer Formation when it comes to putting bridges into inhospitable rural areas, is another national department apparently not settling debt on time. It, Marais was told, owes just over R12.5 million for two bridges. “The institution (presumably the department) does not keep to its promise” and “engagements are in process for the settlement of the account” is seemingly how debt collection is being handled.

National Treasury are miserly when it comes to increasing the defence budget, but makes no bones about using the medical services provided by SAMHS (SA Military Health Service).

The ministerial response has it that 1 292 “military pension officers” were on the receiving end of R6.7 million worth of healthcare with the “most outstanding amounts” older than three years.

“Health services” totalling R12.3 million were performed by SAMHS personnel in Mafikeng during a North West provincial department of health strike more than three years ago and “the institute (presumably the provincial health department) does not keep its promise”. An additional note on the North West debt has it “there was no contract in place and payment cannot be made until there is a contract”.

The veterinary component of SAMHS is owed money by the Department of Correctional Services, National Treasury’s SA Revenue Service (SARS) and the SA Police Service (SAPS). Total debt in excess of R78 000 is given with no detail as to what animal healthcare was provided by the Potchefstroom-based SA Military Veterinary Institute.