Cabinet has appointed former Chief of Defence Intelligence and Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu’s special advisor retired Lieutenant General Moreti “Mojo” Motau the new chairman of the state arms agency Armscor. He replaces former Northwest Province Premier Popo Molefe.
Sisulu in a statement congratulated Motau and the other newly appointed members of the board.
“Retired Lieutenant General Motau brings with him vast military and defence expertise which will benefit Armscor as we move forward with the re-organisation of the institution together with the defence industry as a hole in South Africa,” the statement said. “The minister, Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Thabang Makwetla, the Secretary for Defence, Mpumi Mpofu and the acting Chief of the South African National Defence Force [Lt Gen Themba Matanzima] congratulates retired Lieutenant General Motau on his new appointment as the chairperson and the board [sic] and wishes the good innings [sic] and pledges her support as they carry out their respective strategic mandates.”
The statement adds Motau “brings with him a vast experience of military expertise amongst others; in 1994 he participated in the National Negotiations which ushered in democratic change in South Africa.” He headed the Military Strategy Group of MK, ANC and was responsible for military negotiations at the Trade Centre in Kempton Park which drafted the defence chapter of the Transitional Constitution of 1993, the statement adds. He set on the Joint Military Command Council which drafted the detailed programmes of the integration of forces as provided for in the Transitional Constitution.
In 1998, he was elected chairman of the Regional Defence Intelligence Standing Committee of the Interstate Defence and Security Committee [of the Southern African Development Community]. “This committee is one of the most important committees in the sub-regional multilateral relations.”
Motau unexpectedly resigned as chief of defence intelligence in April 2009. Sisulu later that year appointed him her military advisor.
Joining Motau on the board are: Dr RR Mgijima; Dr P Dyantyi; Dr JL Job; Mrs R Msiza; Ms V September, Mr LW Mosiako, Mr SA Msibi and Mr EL Borole.
Sisulu earlier this month said the fist task of the new board will be to appoint a new chief executive. Former CE Sipho Thomo was suspended on November 19, 2009 on various charges of misconduct and his services were terminated on January 7 last year. Armscor General Manager Acquisition Sipho Mkwanazi was then appointed acting CE.
“I take this opportunity also to thank the outgoing board of Armscor, whose term of office comes to an end on 30 April 2011. In particular, its Chairperson, Dr Popo Molefe and Mr Roelf Meyer, who have served two terms and who, with excellent leadership, have notched up significant accomplishments in creating new ways of thinking,” Sisulu said on April 13. “I thank them immensely for their service to the country by serving on the Board of Armscor. Their stature, in their own right, has added credibility to our process and institution. The work of Armscor has shown that we had such steadfast men of vision and commitment. I am sad to lose them from the Armscor ambit, but I hope they will find it in them to serve with us again in other capacities.
“To the Chairperson, Dr Molefe, your personal support has been invaluable to me. May you remain forever an embodiment of everything we believe in and have fought for. To both of you, South Africa is so much richer for what you have given,” Sisulu said.
Sisulu’s Democratic Alliance shadow, David Maynier said “Mojo Motau’s appointment raises some serious questions, not least because he was alleged to have been involved in the irregular procurement of a military satellite,” a reference to reports in 2008 that erstwhile defence minister Mosiuoa Lekota cancelled an order placed in Russia for such a satellite by Motau in 2006 or 2007, worth some R2 billion.
The Engineering News and the Mail & Guardian (M&G) both reported that it was unclear why Lekota cancelled the contract, but the M&G hinted that Motau had signed the deal without authorisation.
The paper added the cost of the satellite including ground facilities and launch cost would have been between US$150-million and US$300-million (between R2.2-billion and R2.4-billion). “The expenditure is recurrent, as satellites have a lifespan of only a few years.” Sisulu in August 2009 said the South African National Defence Force “is involved in a number of highly classified projects to enhance the strategic intelligence collection capability of South Africa.”