Former CNavy named DMV acting Director-General

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Retired SA Navy (SAN) Chief Mosiwa Hlongwane is acting Director-General (DG) at the Department of Military Veterans (DMV), becoming the second retired senior SA National Defence Force (SANDF) officer to hold the post on an interim basis.

He takes over the senior civilian post in the troubled DMV while director-general Irene Mpolweni is on “precautionary suspension”.

Before Mpolweni’s appointment, retired SA Army lieutenant general Derrick Mgwebi was the second acting DG, replacing Max Ozinsky, himself an acting appointment.

The former SAN boss was, according to a DMV statement, introduced to staff during a departmental strategic planning session last week by Deputy Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thabang Makwetla.

The statement has him saying: “The Ministry is confident Hlongwane possesses the necessary experience and expertise to turn around the performance of the department”.

“Hlongwane is expected to hit the ground running. He joins the department at a crucial time when the DMV is working around the clock to roll out pensions and other benefits due to deserving military veterans nationwide,” the statement issued by Parliamentary Liaison Officer Mpho Lekgoro reads.

The appointment was welcomed by Maliyakhe Shelembe, Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow deputy defence and military veterans minister who pointed out Hlongwane’s arrival at the Hatfield, Pretoria, DMV head office followed a party request to fill the temporarily vacant DG post “without delay”. His 19 April letter to Minister Thandi Modise requested an acting or interim DG to “prevent maladministration, mismanagement of funds and further delay the roll out of pension benefits”.

Shelembe informed Modise the absence of a DG in the DMV “already led to a serious consequence” as regards failure to submit an annual performance plan (APP) to Parliament by 30 April. His letter further noted the DMV “has been dysfunctional since 2011 and military veterans are still suffering the consequences of not receiving entitled benefits including pension, housing and access to healthcare services”.

Mpolweni was suspended in March, the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) heard from Makwetla as per a Parliamentary Communications Service statement.