Heberon charges on hold – not shelved


The importance of ensuring sufficient and correct information when asking for a police investigation is why a Democratic Alliance (DA) parliamentarian has not yet laid charges related to Project Thusano against retired and serving senior SA National Defence Force (SANDF) officers.

Additionally, shadow defence and military veterans minister Kobus Marais still awaits “confirmation or not” from Thandi Modise as to whether any action has been taken or is envisaged against implicated “SANDF staff members”.

The ever-diligent Marais last month indicated he would bring the investigative power of the SA Police Service (SAPS) to bear on senior officers, including former and serving service and force chiefs for apparent involvement in the illegal acquisition of a Cuban COVID-19 prophylactic drug.

He told defenceWeb the “proverbial straw which broke the camel’s back” was the revelation that, apart from a currently on-hold R50 million government donation of food to Cuba, it is part of an alleged R350 million donation and what is reported as “more than R147 million loaned since 2018”. Alongside the “disaster” that is Thusano, he is seeking action against Department of Defence (DoD) officials and SANDF officers allegedly involved.

Marais planned to bring the charges last Friday (27 May) but this is on hold as he seeks more information. Also pending is possible word from Minister Modise indicating disciplinary action of some sort against those implicated, which he had not received at the time of publishing.

The Heberon acquisition Ministerial task team report along with whatever correspondence he and his researchers can access, as well as an Auditor General report and a still-to-be finalised Public Protector report, will be integral to Marais’ statement to police.

“Criminal charges are not to be taken lightly and must be meticulously executed. I’m not taking any chances,” he told defenceWeb.