State arms acquisition agency Armscor has dismissed Sipho Thomo, its former CE.
Armscor chairman Popo Molefe said in a letter to Armscor employees on Monday that Thomo’s employment was terminated “with effect from January 7” after two days of disciplinary hearings in December.
The company suspended Thomo on full pay in November after Molefe had unsuccessfully attempted to convince him to resign after a ten year tenure.
In a statement issued this afternoon, Molefe says a “disciplinary hearing was convened on December 14 and 15, chaired by an independent chairperson. The recommendation of the chairperson was that the services of the CE be terminated. The Board of Armscor considered and decided to adopt the recommendation of the chairperson, as a result, the contract of employment with Mr Thomo was terminated with effect from January 7.
“Mr Sipho Mkwanazi (the General Manager:Acquisition) remains the Acting CEO in the interim,” Molefe said.
The Democratic Alliance welcomed the news. “This will hopefully go a long way to bring to an end to a very unhappy chapter in the history of Armscor,” party defence shadow minister David Maynier said.
The Business Report in an online article added that Thomo faced five charges, including dishonesty, failing to attend to serious grievances, “disgraceful and unbecoming conduct” and a “dereliction of duties” as well as embarrassing government over the Airbus Military A400M.
“Molefe charged that he and his board were never advised to attend a meeting of the National Assembly Defence Committee meeting in October last year where Thomo made the claims about the price tag of the Airbus contract, which has since been terminated by defence minister Lindiwe Sisulu,” the report said. At the meeting MP’s, who had called Armscor to appear before them, denounced the Armscor board for not attending.
Molefe said Thomo’s failure to notify the board was “disgraceful” and caused embarrassment to the board. He further charged that the misleading price tag – Thomo said it had escalated from R17 to R47 billion – had “serious legal and reputational repercussions for Armscor and the Department of Defence”.
Business Report wrote Sisulu has previously said that the revelation damaged South Africa’s stature as an honest partner while it was renegotiating the contract with Airbus Military. Thomo has furthermore acted in a disgraceful and unbecoming manner”” in his position by arriving an hour late for Armscor’s next meeting with MP’s in November “embarrassing and undermining” both Armscor and Parliament.
He also allegedly “failed to carry out the strategic objectives” of the arms procurer in terms of instructions given in February last year. “You failed to act in a manner which is to be expected from a CEO, in that, you failed to attend to serious grievances raised by members of senior management, and that during or about October 2009, you were dishonest by advising the Board of Armscor that you had addressed the grievances”, Molefe charged.
In a leaked internal memo in November last year senior management had raised a raft of charges against Thomo, such as a “dictatorial leadership style” and creating a “general atmosphere of intimidation and victimisation”.
Thomo could not be reached for comment Wednesday.