Former Surgeon General and currently Chief of Corporate Staff of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Lieutenant General Vejay Ramlakan looks set to become the first high level government employee to take it on the chin as regards the involvement of the military in the now infamous “security” upgrades at Nkandla.
Johannesburg Afrikaans daily Beeld reports SANDF Chief, General Solly Shoke, informed Ramlakan in writing his services are no longer required and he should provide reasons why he should not take early retirement.
The letter to the three star general comes in the wake of more than nine months of trying to get him to appear before a SANDF convened investigation into alleged offences and wrongdoing committed by SANDF members involved in the upgrades at Nkandla, the Presidential homestead in rural KwaZulu-Natal.
Department of Defence Head of Communications, Siphiwe Dlamini, told the paper Ramlakan refused to testify before the investigation and a decision had been taken to “call it quits” after months of fruitless effort.
SA Army Chief, Lieutenant General Vusi Masondo, was tasked to head the military’s Nkandla investigation and he will now compile a report setting out problems encountered with Ramlakan.
“This will to go Shoke and Defence Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula,” Dlamini said, adding Ramlakan would “probably” not be dismissed but would be given an opportunity to take early retirement.
The SANDF board of enquiry into Nkandla was set up by Shoke and was also the first by any government department said to be involved in the multi-million Rand Nkandla upgrades.
The Public Servants Association (PSA) disciplinary hearing into the actions of 11 Department of Public Works employees as regards the upgrades to Nkandla is set to start next week.
Beeld reports Ramlakan was never asked what he was working on or doing at the time and this had to be cleared up before any evidence could be led to the board in connection with Nkandla military security. The board was also tasked to find out where financial authorisation had come from for military components of Nkandla security. In addition to a military medical clinic, accommodation for military personnel and a helipad were built at the homestead.
Allegations are that the current SANDF Chief of Corporate Staff went ahead with the military components at Nkandla without approval from the defence force.
He has apparently not been in office for “quite some time” the paper was told and informed the three star general was on “stress leave”.