Mapisa-Nqakula bribery allegations further evidence of SANDF “destruction” – Groenewald

2419

Freedom Front Plus (FF+) leader Pieter Groenewald “hopes” the latest brouhaha in the Department of Defence (DoD)/SA National Defence Force (SANDF) axis will be swiftly finalised with justice prevailing.

He was referring to news reports of former minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula allegedly receiving R2 million plus in bribery money from Nombasa Ndhlovu, chief executive of Umkhombe Marine and former chair of the SA Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industries Association (AMD). Umkhombe Marine was awarded contracts to return SANDF equipment to South Africa from Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Aside from various ‘he said, she said’ media reports, Groenewald maintains the Mapisa-Nqakula/Umkhombe Marine issue, if speedily finalised, should “end the ANC custom of three decades to use the defence force as its own personal piggy bank and deploy cadres at the highest level”.

The former Commando officer maintains the rot started with what has become universally known as the “arms deal scandal” and extended to “utility companies such as Denel, which was stripped to the bone”.

Making matters worse, the defence budget was repeatedly cut back – “consequently South Africa’s ability to defend itself became questionable and its arms industry was practically destroyed”.

Looking back at Mapisa-Nqakula’s nine years as defence and military veterans minister, Groenewald names numerous ‘scandals’ on her watch, including the Gupta landing at Air Force Base (AFB) Waterkloof, the misuse of a SA Air Force aircraft to transport ANC members to Harare and shortcomings in the SANDF which became “glaringly obvious” during the countrywide unrest in 2021. He adds “a number of whistle blowers came forward in 2021 alleging she accepted millions in bribes”.

He then turns to last week’s presentation to the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) by the DoD Audit Committee. Among others, the committee heard unauthorised DoD expenditure “already stands at R2.6 billion and could increase to R5.6 billion by the end of the financial year”. Irregular expenditure amounts to R15.98 billion, of which only R76 000 was recovered. The audit committee told PCDMV members, in one instance, the DoD recovered “only R800” of fruitless expenditure totalling R430 million.

“Clearly Minister [Thandi] Modise [who replaced Mapisa-Nqakula] is simply continuing the legacy of her predecessor as the DoD keeps on squandering tax money on large scale,” he said, adding “there is no way Minister Modise can remain in office while the DoD is collapsing under her leadership”.

“A once proud defence force and arms industry have been utterly destroyed, first under Mapisa-Nqakula and now under Modise,” he said, again adding he “hoped” the majority ANC “can or will do something about it”.