Retired general and sitting parliamentarian Bantu Holomisa wants one of Parliament’s two defence oversight committees to investigate what he alleges is abuse of office at senior levels in the Department of Military Veterans (DMV).
This is the second time this year the United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader asked the Joint Standing Committee on Defence (JSCD) to investigate defence ministry related issues. The first was in April when he asked the committee, under the joint chairmanship of Cyril Xaba and Elleck Nchabeleng, to find out about what he termed “financial abuse” to the tune of millions of Rands by then defence and military veterans minister (now National Assembly Speaker) Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. The committee will go no further on this saying the matter is closed because it “has nothing to work on”. This is in the wake of an alleged whistleblower not apparently being prepared to share information with the committee.
Holomisa is hopeful his letter to the JSCD regarding “financial and other implications for the DMV in terms allegations of possible corruption and its cover-up by its recently appointed director general” will not suffer the same fate as the Mapisa-Nqakula request.
In support of his call for investigation, Holomisa wrote: “In August this year, four senior DMV managers were placed on precautionary suspension, allegedly because of ‘irregular expenditure amounting to R119 002 000, fruitless and wasteful expenditure to the tune of R5 084 000’ in the 2019/2020 financial year, according to a DMV press statement.
“Those managers are (names withheld to protect their identities but supplied to the committee). All feel ambushed and blind-sided by their director general’s words and actions after they had, to the best of their knowledge and ability had done their work as required and more.
“I have been reliably informed the accusation is not the sole charge against the four suspended officials. There are inconsistencies in the DMV’s handling of the matter, when measured against their reporting to the public.”
Holomisa points out it is “disingenuous” to report precautionary suspension and “omit or hide pertinent information” as regards the run-up to and the “real reason for the suspension”.
In support of his allegations, Holomisa writes further the now permanent DMV director general has a history of controversy, “poor inter-personal skills and erratic leadership style”. He quotes examples from the North West provincial department of sport, arts and culture as well as the DG’s apparent precautionary suspension during her time with the Eastern Cape provincial government. This, according to him, was in connection with “the so-called Mthatha airport debacle”.
A reliable Parliamentary source told defenceWeb receipt of the Holomisa letter was not acknowledged as of Friday, when both the National Assembly (NA) and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) prorogued ahead of the November local government elections.