Seventy-plus procurement units see to DoD goods and services acquisition

1390

Parliamentarians serving on the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) heard Minister Thandi Modise’s Department of Defence and Military Veterans (DoDMV) has no less than 73 procurement units, some dealing with “high-risk procurements”.

This came to the fore when government’s financial watchdog – the Office of the Auditor-General – again noted it has “consistently” advised DoDMV senior personnel, including ministers Modise and Thabang Makwetla, they have to set the tone for what is acceptable.

The briefing, conducted by a representative from Tsakani Maluleke’s office, was to inform the committee of “material irregularities processes” at the Department of Defence (DoD) and the status of records.

The PCDMV heard, according to a Parliamentary Communication Service statement, “members of the force [presumably the SA National Defence Force (SANDF)] are sometimes delegated functions and responsibilities related to financial management”. This practice, the statement continues “sometimes leads to a lack of internal controls and financial management transgressions on the part of members of the force”.

On the supply chain process for goods and services sought by, in the main, the SANDF, PCDMV co-chair Cyril Xaba is quoted as saying: “It [the supply chain process] is an area where a majority of audit queries came from and it was always the same area that had minimal progress in dealing with audit queries”. The SANDF supply chain stretches to 83 units – “some dealing with high-risk procurement”. In addition to units at the four services, there is a Logistics Division within the DoD structure.

According to him, the PCDMV has long expressed its “concern that supply chain management is not located under the chief financial officer, in complete violation of Treasury regulations, which potentially worsens the situation”. Concern was also noted over the DoD chief audit executive position which remains vacant and “there seems to be no urgency to fill the position”.

Apart from not having a senor staffer to oversee the audit operation, the DoD is currently without a permanent accounting officer following the departure of Secretary for Defence Gladys Kudjoe with immediate effect in mid-December after citing health reasons. Thobekile Gamede, DoD Chief Director Policy and Planning, is acting until a permanent replacement is named.