Cuban drug task team report not available for Parliamentary oversight meeting


New Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise did not have to face hostile questions on the apparently illegal acquisition of an unregistered Cuban drug for use by military personnel because a ministerial task team report was not available.

The task team was established by Modise’s predecessor Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to seek the how’s, where’s and why’s of a multi-million Rand SA National Defence Force (SANDF) spend on Heberon. The three man task team drawn from South Africa’s intelligence community was given six months to complete its investigations and report to what is called the “relevant oversight structures”.

When told the task team report wouldn’t feature during today’s meeting Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow defence and military veterans minster Kobus Marais expressed disappointment.

“Neither defence secretary Gladys Kudjoe nor the Department of Defence (DoD) have been at all forthcoming on this investigation,” he said adding he “hoped” the new minister would speed matters up.

Committee co-chair Cyril Xaba indicated the task team report would be tabled in “three to four weeks” following Modise’s commitment to ensure the report was finalised and ready for tabling.

Earlier Marais was told the task team findings and recommendations will be shared “in a manner dictated by their nature, given some of it relates to the environment of Defence Intelligence, which may be better shared with the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence (JSCI)”.

Other investigations into the acquisition of the Cuban drug are in process at the SA Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA), the Office of the Public Protector and police, in the wake of a statement made by Marais.