Tek Base weapons theft – questions aplenty


The “whistleblower” for the Tek Base weapons theft earlier this year has spoken out as regards the apparent silence of the national defence force’s legal service division on the case.

Four months ago was the last time the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) gave South Africans an update on the theft of what is believed to be at least 24 weapons from the SA Army Engineer Formation at Tek Base in Centurion. A statement indicated two SANDF personnel were granted bail late in April and told to report back to court on 17 June.

“Initially, there appeared to be some urgency around the case. That was short-lived and now no-one seems to want to provide further information,” Kobus Marais, Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow defence and military veterans minister, said after being told a defenceWeb inquiry about the theft remains unanswered after two weeks at the SANDF directorate: corporate communications. One function of this directorate is to forward media questions to the service/division/ formation or unit concerned and when a response is received respond to the questioner.

Marais was the whistleblower on the theft back in January after he was informed of the theft by what he termed “an impeccable source in the force”. Marais, it will be remembered, also brought the military’s attention to the alleged beating and subsequent death of Alexandra resident Collins Khosa early on in the national state of disaster.

He maintains the silence around the Tek Base weapons theft is “a symptom and adds to overall sentiment about poor discipline in the national defence force.

“To my way of thinking the theft and that nothing appears to be happening as far as legal action is concerned are indicators all is not well in the SANDF.

“The perpetrators must be held accountable as must those on whose watch the thefts, reportedly over an 80 day period, took place,” he said adding it appeared “the only way to find out what’s happening is via Ministerial questions in the National Assembly”.

inister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula will soon find a question from Marais in her inbox wanting to know, among others, what progress there is on prosecution, are those arrested suspended and have any of the stolen weapons – R4 rifles and pistols – been recovered.