Soldier and spook qualifications not for public consumption


South Africans, including those who represent them in Parliament and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), are seemingly not allowed to know the qualifications of senior military and national security personnel.

This emerged from a Parliamentary question put to Public Service and Administration Minister Senzo Mchunu. Michele Clarke, the Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow deputy public enterprises minister, wanted to know the number of senior managers in the public service, which includes the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) and State Security Agency (SSA), whose qualifications and credentials are not sufficient for the positions they hold, she maintains.

Mchunu’s reply showed 41 national government departments, ranging from agriculture, land reform and rural development through to women, youth and persons with disabilities, have 1 987 not properly qualified senior managers on their payrolls.

While the broader defence component of the public sector, which includes the SA Air Force (SAAF), SA Army, SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) and SA Navy (SAN), is not part of Minister Mchunu’s reply, the second part of Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s Cabinet responsibility – the Department of Military Veterans (DMV) – is. Four managers working for and with retired general Derrick Mgwebi at DMV are reportedly not properly qualified for the work they are employed to do.

On security-related departments, the “spooks” under Minister Ayanda Dlodlo, are not considered “public enough” to be counted for qualifications but Minister Bheki Cele’s SA Police Service (SAPS) is. There are 228 under-qualified senior people in the ranks of national crime fighters.

Other departments where under-qualified managers are found in numbers include Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (227), Justice and Constitutional Development (should read Justice and Correctional Services, which is listed separately) (189), Trade, Industry and Competition (128) and Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (107).

The SANDF makes public career related information when senior promotions are announced. Then specific academic achievements are given such as that for current acting SAAF Chief, Lieutenant General Mzayifani Buthelezi. He, according to a SAAF statement, has a national diploma in joint and multi-national operations as well as the “Occupational Directed Education Training Development Unit Standard” and successful completion of a “senior management programme”.

Outgoing SANDF Chief General Solly Shoke has academic qualifications including a human resource management diploma and a certificate in defence management. Other positions he has filled include Director: Personnel Planning in the SA Army (where he was chief before becoming SANDF Chief), Director: Personnel Acquisition, Chief Director: Human Resources Support and mission commander of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) force in Lesotho – Operation Boleas in the late nineties.