Parliament, via its Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV), has expressed “deep concern” about an alleged SA National Defence Force (SANDF) recruitment scam uncovered this week by Gauteng’s provincial welfare department.
The extent of the scam came to light when officials from the provincial Department of Social Development responded to reports of unnecessarily loud noise from a house in Karen Park, Akasia. They found 237 young men and women apparently recruited by a “General Ndaba” for training ahead of enlisting in the South African military.
“The PCDMV is saddened that people are taking advantage of some peoples’ plight and benefiting from their struggles,” Stanley Motimele, committee chairman said, adding an urgent investigation was needed.
“This must happen to ensure offenders are prosecuted,” he said in a statement in which he also expressed his appreciation for the speed with which provincial social welfare personnel stepped in to offer aid and assistance as well as transport back home for those scammed, apparently all from KwaZulu-Natal.
The 237 want-to-be soldiers allegedly paid R1 800 for training, R300 for registration and a further R200 a month to the self-styled general since signing up last year.
SANDF spokesman Colonel Ronald Maseko told defenceWeb the man who calls himself “General Ndaba” was apparently a former SA Defence Force member. He was arrested following the intervention of Gauteng social welfare personnel and appeared in the Pretoria North Magistrate’s Court to face charges of theft under false pretences, according to The Citizen. The case was postponed for a formal bail application to be heard next week.
Motimele also urged the SANDF and the Department of Defence (DoD) to “strengthen communication efforts to clearly inform South Africans no fees are required for placement in the SANDF”.
The SANDF has repeatedly pointed out it does not use outside people or agencies for recruitment. The SANDF has its own central recruitment office, based in Pretoria, and makes use of various provincial and national exhibitions and shows, such as the Rand and Bloemfontein shows, for career and recruitment displays and information sessions.