It’s official. After being acting Armscor chair since last October, Thutukile Skweyiya now chairs the State-owned defence and security acquisition agency.
The former South African ambassador to France was named by Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula as acting chair when serving chair, retired vice admiral Johannes Mudimu, resigned citing ill-health. He handed his resignation to the Minister days after last year’s Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition ended at AFB Waterkloof but Mapisa-Nqakula only acknowledged his departure when she named Skweyiya acting chair in January.
That was when the Defence Ministry confirmed Mudimu’s resignation and indicated the deputy chair (Skweyiya) had been acting since October. This publication was told “a process is currently underway to appoint a replacement” at that time.
In addition to being South Africa’s top diplomat in France, Skweyiya was also South Africa’s ambassador to UNESCO (the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation). She entered the international relations sphere when she joined what was the Department of Foreign Affairs, now International Relations and Co-Operation, in 1995. She was the first woman to be a deputy director general charged with managing South Africa’s relations with Asia and the Middle East.
Her appointment was announced in a Cabinet statement which also named Malusi Motimele as deputy Armscor chair and a non-executive Armscor board member for the next three years. Skweyiya’s term as chair runs until the end of April next year.
Motimele is a Member of Parliament and co-chairs both defence-related portfolio committees – the Joint Standing Committee on Defence and the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans.