Comfort for bosses, steerage for workers

2305

It’s high class flights to defence exhibitions and accommodation a cut above the rest for the Armscor upper crust. At least some of the time.

That’s the picture that emerges from the written answer to a Parliamentary question on the state arms acquisition agency’s attendance of eight recent arms trade shows.

The answer, in table form, showed that Armscor on average deployed about 11 people to each exhibition, the group broadly dividing into a small “project team” and a larger number of senior executives and board members, including chairman Popo Molefe and now-suspended CE Sipho Thomo.

Armscor attended the DSA show in Malaysia in April last year, Eurosatory in France in June last year, AAD in Cape Town in September, Milipol in Qatar in November and IDEAS 2008 in Pakistan the same month. In February this year, Armscor attended IDEX in the United Arab Emirates, LAAD in Brazil in April and DSEi in London in September.

Molefe, Thomo and Chief of the South African Army Lieutenant General Solly Shoke flew first class to Malaysia at a cost of R63 362 each. Two officials flew business class at R38 510 each while Shoke’s aide and the Armscor project team as well as one other official flew economy class at prices varying from R9710 to R15 162. Once there, all were accommodated at the five-star Shangri-La hotel. The bill for the event, inclusive of flights, hotel costs, transport and S&T was R539 927.

Thomo again flew first class to Eurosatory, although his his flight and stay there was paid for by the DGA, the French equivalent of Armscor, and an organiser of the Eurosatory event. Four other officials travelled economy class. The total bill for attending this event was R219 867.

Only one official travelled to Milipol, flying economy class (R16 049) but staying at the five star Sheraton while there. Ditto IDEAS. The two visits cost Armscor R53 575 and R23 233 respectively.

Armscor deployed 12 directors and management board officials to AAD in Cape Town, flying all business class at a cost of R6703 each. Molefe stayed at the five star Westin Grand while Thomo booked in at the Radison Blu (also five star). The remainder of the team deployed to the four star Lagoon Beach hotel. The trip cost the taxpayer R123 785.

Molefe, Thomo, Shoke and three other officials next flew to IDEX business class (R23 109 each) , while a project team of two and three other officials flew economy (R5709 each on average). All stayed at the five star Sheraton Khalidaya. IDEX cost Armscor R956 409 I personnel costs to attend.

Former National Party cabinet minister and current Armscor board member Roelf Meyer and two others flew to LAAD business class (R58 018 each). A two-person project team and two others flew economy. The cost of the trip was R332 888.

For DSEi Thomo and Molefe again travelled business class, along with three others while the project team hunkered down in economy. Molefe was accompanied by his wife at Armscor expense, taking his flight cost to R95 924. Thomo’s ticket cost R47 962. Economy tickets were R11 427 by contrast. The trip cost the company R653 158. Of note is that all stayed at the three star Rembrandt Hotel. Thomo’s accommodation was paid for by the DSO, an arms export promotion agency of that country’s trade and industry department.

Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow defence minister David Maynier expressed outrage that Armscor spent “nearly R3 million” on attending the exhibitions at a time that it was crying poverty to Parliament.

“In the Armscor 2008/2009 annual report, … Thomo complains that Department of Defence transfer payments over the past three years amounted to a decrease in real terms, and because of that there is ‘a long term risk that Armscor may not be able to fulfil its mandate’. And yet in a reply to a parliamentary question Armscor bosses reveal that they spent nearly R 3 million on attending international arms shows all over the world,” Maynier fumed.

“The top management at Armscor always complain that they do not get enough money from government, but then rather than tighten their belts, they behave like Fortune 500 fat cats flying first class, inviting spouses and guests along for the ride and staying at five star hotels.”

Maynier was left especially cold by the R12 382.00 it cost to accommodate Thomo at the Radisson during AAD.

He also questioned why Armscor – rather than the DoD or the Army paid for Shoke to attend DSA and IDEX, noting it cost the cash-strapped arms acquisition agency R197 450 to do so.

Armscor this March reported a net decline in profits of R6.1 million and a net loss of about R9 million This is despite the fact that the government transfer to the entity was over R50 million more this year than last year’s R479 million, without which Armscor would have been R441.1 million in the red at the end of the financial year.

Maynier now wants acting CE Sipho Mkwanazi, who attended three of the eight events, to “account to Parliament and provide a briefing on what austerity measures will be put in place to stop wasteful expenditure at Armscor.”

International Exhibition Attendance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exhibitions

A (i,ii)

B

Class

C

 

 

 

D

Exhibitions

Attendance

Airticket

Hotel

Transport

S&T + Other

TOTAL

 

 

Cost

Class

Cost

Name & Star

 

 

 

DSA 2008

Dr PS Molefe

63,362

First

5,315

Shangri-La (Five)

6,144

3,381

78,202

21 – 24 April 08

Mr HS Thomo

63,362

First

5,960

Shangri-La (Five)

6,144

3,381

78,847

Malaysia

Mr JS Mkwanazi

38,510

Business

14,679

Shangri-La (Five)

 

5,244

58,433

 

GJ Van Staden

15,162

Economy

5,851

Shangri-La (Five)

 

2,865

23,878

 

E Hurter

35,980

Business

15,085

Shangri-La (Five)

 

5,070

56,135

 

Gen Shoke

63,362

First

5,315

Shangri-La (Five)

6,144

3,381

78,202

 

Col Mbatha

15,162

Economy

5,851

Shangri-La (Five)

 

2,865

 

 

Project Team:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

N Vlok

13,473

Economy

17,198

Shangri-La (Five)

 

8,103

38,774

 

A King

13,473

Economy

17,198

Shangri-La (Five)

 

8,103

38,774

 

J Fredericks

13,473

Economy

17,198

Shangri-La (Five)

 

8,103

38,774

 

A Sibanda

9,710

Economy

11,272

Shangri-La (Five)

 

5,049

26,032

 

 

345,029

120,924

18,431

55,543

539,927

Eurosatory 2008

Mr HS Thomo

62,313

First

Paid by French DGA

62,313

16 – 20 June 08

GJ Van Staden

9,391

Economy

16,263

Citadene Apartments

 

11,356

37,010

France

T Phalatse

9,391

Economy

16,263

Citadene Apartments

 

11,356

37,010

 

Project Team:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

N Vlok

9,391

Economy

24,334

Citadene Apartments

 

8,042

41,767

 

A King

9,391

Economy

24,334

Citadene Apartments

 

8,042

41,767

 

 

99,877

 

81,194

 

 

38,796

219,867

Milipol Qatar

A King

16,049

Economy

30,435

Sheraton (Five)

 

7,091

53,575

17-19 November 08

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Qatar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IDEAS 2008

N Vlok

15,183

Economy

 

Sheraton (Five)

 

8,050

23,233

24-28 November 08

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pakistan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AAD 2008**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17-21 September 08

Dr PS Molefe

6,703

Business

2,917

Westin Grand (Five)

 

300

9,920

South Africa

Mr HS Thomo

6,703

Business

12,382

Radisson SA Hotel (Five)

 

750

19,835

 

Mr LW Mosiako

6,703

Business

750

Lagoon Beach (Four)

 

150

7,603

 

Ms R Msiza

6,703

Business

2,250

Lagoon Beach (Four)

 

450

9,403

 

Mr E Hurter

6,703

Business

3,000

Lagoon Beach (Four)

 

600

10,303

 

Mr G Grobler

6,703

Business

1,500

Lagoon Beach (Four)

 

300

8,503

 

Dr F Potgieter & Spouse*

6,703

Business

2,250

Lagoon Beach (Four)

 

450

9,403

 

Mr JS Mkwanazi

6,703

Business

2,250

Lagoon Beach (Four)

 

450

9,403

 

Mr B Griffiths & Spouse*

6,703

Business

3,750

Lagoon Beach (Four)

 

750

11,203

 

Ms M Msomi

6,703

Business

2,250

Lagoon Beach (Four)

 

450

9,403

 

Mr M Matibe

6,703

Business

2,250

Lagoon Beach (Four)

 

450

9,403

 

Mr K Hanafey

6,703

Business

2,250

Lagoon Beach (Four)

 

450

9,403

 

 

80,436

 

37,799

 

 

5,550

123,785

IDEX 2009

Dr PS Molefe

23,109

Business

48,528

Sheraton Khalidaya(Five )

5,679

9,102

86,418

22-26 February 09

Mr HS Thomo

23,111

Business

72,792

Sheraton Khalidaya(Five )

14,700

8,645

119,248

UAE

Gen Shoke

23,111

Business

72,792

Sheraton Khalidaya(Five )

14,700

8,645

119,248

 

Ms N Medupe

23,109

Business

72,792

Sheraton Khalidaya(Five )

 

5,072

100,973

 

Mr S Msibi & Spouse

46,218

Business

72,792

Sheraton Khalidaya(Five )

8,435

5,072

132,517

 

Mr JS Mkwanazi

23,109

Business

35,438

Sheraton Khalidaya(Five )

 

4,120

62,667

 

Ms N Msomi

23,109

Business

35,438

Sheraton Khalidaya(Five )

 

4,120

62,667

 

S Zaayman

5,706

Economy

41,345

Sheraton Khalidaya(Five )

 

6,463

53,514

 

T Phalatse

5,711

Economy

41,345

Sheraton Khalidaya(Five )

 

6,463

53,519

 

Project Team:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

N Vlok

5,709

Economy

70,877

Sheraton Khalidaya(Five )

 

12,140

88,725

 

A King

5,709

Economy

59,064

Sheraton Khalidaya(Five )

 

12,140

76,913

 

 

207,711

623,203

43,515

81,980

956,409

LAAD 2009

Mr RP Meyer & Spouse*

58,018

Business

12,453

Rio Orthon Palace (Four)

 

4,007

74,478

14-17 April 09

Ms R Msiza

57,538

Business

12,128

Rio Orthon Palace (Four)

 

4,007

73,672

Brazil

MM Matibe

58,018

Business

9,257

Rio Orthon Palace (Four)

 

3,540

70,814

 

GJ Van Staden

11,572

Economy

8,882

Golden Tulip (Three)

 

6,306

26,761

 

T Phalatse

11,572

Economy

8,882

Golden Tulip (Three)

 

6,306

26,761

 

Project Team:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

N Vlok

8,952

Economy

13,875

Golden Tulip (Three)

 

10,251

33,077

 

Ms ML Chaka

17,122

Economy

6,040

Golden Tulip (Three)

 

4,162

27,324

 

 

222,792

71,517

38,578

332,888

DSEI 2009

Dr PS Molefe & Spouse

95,924

Business

18,303

The Rembrandt Hotel (Three)

***

3,567

117,794

8-11 September 09

Mr HS Thomo

47,962

Business

Paid for by UK DSO

4,753

52,715

London

Ms V September

47,962

Business

18,303

The Rembrandt Hotel (Three)

***

3,567

69,832

 

Mr LW Mosiako & Spouse

95,924

Business

18,303

The Rembrandt Hotel (Three)

***

3,567

117,794

 

Mr JS Mkwanazi

37,572

Business

10,807

The Rembrandt Hotel (Three)

 

5,989

54,368

 

MA Verwey

11,427

Economy

15,200

The Rembrandt Hotel (Three)

 

4,759

31,386

 

T Phalatse

11,427

Economy

15,200

The Rembrandt Hotel (Three)

 

4,759

31,386

 

Project Team:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

N Vlok

11,427

Economy

23,716

The Rembrandt Hotel (Three)

 

12,474

47,617

 

A King

11,427

Economy

23,716

The Rembrandt Hotel (Three)

 

12,474

47,617

 

J Fredericks

11,427

Economy

23,716

The Rembrandt Hotel (Three)

 

12,474

47,617

 

TS Ledwaba

10,947

Economy

16,401

The Rembrandt Hotel (Three)

 

7,685

35,033

 

 

393,426

183,663

76,069

653,158

 

* Armscor did not pay for spouse airticket

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

** Only Board of Directors & Management Board attendance listed. Various other Armscor personnel attended.

 

 

 

*** Awaiting transport related invoice from service provider