Dismissed Armscor chairman retired lieutenant general Maomela “Mojo” Motau has been reinstated, along with his deputy Refiloe Mokoena by the North Gauteng High Court.
Both were told their services were no longer required by Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula on August 15. She said at the time an announcement regarding their replacements would be made by the end of this month.
This is the second time Motau has been dismissed from chairmanship of the state security procurement agency. Just before she was moved to the Public Service and Administration portfolio last year previous Minister Lindiwe Sisulu attempted to remove him but he refused to go and for a time Armscor was headed by a pair of chairmen.
The two were apparently dismissed because they did not have the best interests of Armscor and its ability to deliver on its mandate at heart.
Judge Francois Legodi, who resigned from the Seriti Commission currently hearing evidence as regards bribery and corruption in the Strategic Defence Procurement Packages (SDPP) is reported to have ruled the Minister’s decision to dismiss was an administrative act and not an executive one. He said Mapisa-Nqakula had failed to demonstrate an irretrievable breakdown in her relationship with Motau and Mokoena and that the dismissals were procedurally unfair. Legodi ordered the two be reinstated with costs having to be paid by the Defence Ministry.
Reacting, DA shadow defence and military veterans minister David Maynier said Mapisa-Nqakula had been “absolutely correct” in removing Motau and his deputy as part of resolving the crisis at Armscor.
“Armscor’s failure to deliver under its former – and now reinstated – chairman was evidently compromising key operational capabilities of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF). Long delays in finalising certain projects by Armscor evidently had a direct negative impact on, for example, the deployment of soldiers to the DRC.”
Maynier called the return of Motau “a major setback” saying it was likely to reinforce the dysfunction at leadership level and was “likely to intensify what appears to be a civil war between the Department of Defence and Armscor.
The Motau/Mokoena reinstatements come in the same month the Commission for conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) ordered the dismissal of two senior Armscor employees be overturned.
One of them (he is known to defenceWeb, but his name will not be published as further legal action looks a certainty) returned to work this week as ordered but was refused access because he did not have a security clearance. He is of the opinion Armscor will now take the matter to the Labour Court.