Military prosecutors “gathering evidence” in further Umzimvubu call-up investigation

2219

Providing an update on the yet to be finally resolved Umzimvubu Regiment July 2021 call-up, SA Army Chief, Lieutenant General Lawrence Mbatha, told parliamentarians 83 part-time soldiers have been paid.

At the same time he told this week’s Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) that “the modalities of resolving requirements for enlistment as Reserves” of 619 men and women who reported for duty was not yet finalised.

The three-star said “C HR” (presumably Chief Director Human Resources Vice Admiral Asiel Kubu) would be responsible for the modality investigation.

Wednesday’s report-back to the oversight committee also heard the board of inquiry (BOI) report is to be referred to the Directorate Military Prosecution (DM PROS). Mbatha’s presentation gives no further details of what the possible prosecution/s entail.

In introductory remarks, Mbatha’s presentation has it on the Umzimvubu Regiment call-up as an Operation Prosper deployment to support the SA Police Service (SAPS) “there were observations of maladministration that led the PCDMV to seek clarity on administration issues” tabled during a September 2022 oversight meeting.

The committee, jointly chaired by Cyril Xaba and Mamagase Nchabeleng, heard SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Chief General Rudzani Maphwanya, after receiving and reviewing the reports of both BOIs, issued instructions for the Reserves “who were enlisted” to be paid for “all the days they were on call-up to render service”. He tasked Mbatha to set the process in motion for possible prosecution via DM PROS.

According to the Mbatha presentation, over 800 “members” reported at Umzimvubu Regiment in response to the call-up instruction. Seven hundred and two of them “are affected” by the quoted “maladministration” with 113 of 196 “enlisted members” now paid for their time in uniform with pay for the 83 “remaining enlisted members” on hold and – “unfortunately” – eight have died to date.

What happens next is in the hands of military prosecutors who, as per Mbatha’s presentation, are “still gathering evidence” on Maphwanya’s instruction.