SANDF Chief of Corporate Staff not leaving because of Nkandla


Lieutenant General Vejay Ramlakan has hit back at a newspaper report claiming he will be asked to take early retirement because of his involvement with the upgrades at President Jacob Zuma’s Nkandla homestead.

He maintains, contrary to what Department of Defence (DoD) Head of Communications, Siphiwe Dlamini, reportedly said about the SA National Defence Force’s (SANDF) Chief of Corporate Staff not being available to a board of inquiry, he has given a full statement and has been available to the inquiry.

As far as the assertion that discussions with SANDF Chief General Solly Shoke were about him taking early retirement, Ramlakan said: “Discussions with Shoke about his (Ramlakan’s) future are part of normal career management and have nothing to do with the board of inquiry intro Nkandla”.

The former Surgeon General of the SANDF also maintains the Beeld report is incorrect in stating he was on “so-called stress leave and did not tell his staff this was the case”.

On the involvement of the SANDF in Nkandla Ramlakan said: “It bears mentioning the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) found in their investigation into Nkandla that the Department of Defence had acted correctly. No evidence of corruption or transgression was found simply because no Department of Defence official was involved in such activities. The SIU report in paragraph 11 states ‘the SANDF requirements were quite separate and appear to have been handled quite correctly’.
“The Ministerial Task Team also found Defence had acted correctly in the Nkandla project. The Public Protector had made findings of maladministration based on the fact that Defence was not involved in ensuring the procurement of services by the Department of Public Works was efficient and effective. With all due respect, the Public Protector may not make such a finding in terms of the responsibilities to be carried out by Department of Defence officials. In this regard, following the advice of Senior Counsel, I am busy with the processes required to review her findings on the Department of Defence. The Department of Defence was not involved in the procurement of services, construction, etc. Only the procurement of furniture for the military housing was addressed by the Department of Defence.”

He also points out in a lengthy statement that “all existing Department of Defence guidelines in this regard were complied with to the letter and spirit. The Public Protector was referring to the question of whether the Department of Defence should have been involved in the manner in which the Department of Public Works spends their budget. I wish to point out that no Department of Defence officials are entitled to spend money allocated by Parliament to the Department of Public Works and any request to do so would constitute illegal activity.”

Ramlakan maintains there are “other contextual errors” in the Public Protector’s report “largely because there was no military expert on the investigating team.