Constitutional Court rules Motau and Mokoena cannot go back to Armscor board


The man probably most relieved by the Constitutional Court upholding the Defence Minister’s appeal against the reinstatement of former Armscor chairman “Mojo” Motau is his replacement, Johannes Mudimu.

The former head of South Africa’s maritime arm of service has wasted no time in getting to grips with his new position. In just over a month as chairman of the State defence and security procurement agency he has hosted his first board meeting, address Armscor personnel and arranged for the new board to visit all Armscor facilities on a familiarisation tour.

The last thing he would have wanted was a joint chairmanship even if only for a short time. He has made his intentions clear and wants Armscor to deliver “on time and in time” so that South Africa’s soldiers can do their work properly.

Defence and Military Veterans Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, must also feel vindicated after her decision to take the matter of the reinstatement of Motau and former Armscor deputy chairman Refiloe Mokena in a judgement handed down by the North Gauteng High Court to the Constitutional Court.
“We welcome the judgement. We have maintained, as now confirmed by the Constitutional Court, that the decision to remove the two was not only rational but in the best interest of the operational readiness of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF),” was Minister Mapisa-Nqakula’s official reaction.

She added she and the Department of Defence (DoD) would now “study the specific implications of the judgement”.

In an explanatory note on its judgement the Constitutional Court said: “The Minister had the necessary good cause to terminate the services of Motau and Mokoena and that her decision was rational.
“Under their leadership, Armscor and its Board had failed to fulfil effectively its statutory mandate. However, the majority held that in making her decision, the Minister was required to comply with the process for the dismissal of directors as set out in the Companies Act. Her failure to do so rendered her decision unlawful. Nevertheless, the majority held that it would not be just and equitable in these circumstances to set aside her decision.”

Justifying her decision to take the reinstatement to the Constitutional Court, Mapisa-Nqakula cited various procurement projects which had failed to progress timeously as a result of the Board’s decisions or inaction; Armscor’s failure to conclude a service level agreement with the DoD as required by the Armscor Act; and certain complaints she had received about Armscor from the defence industry, indicating the relationship between the two had broken down.