Department of Defence keeping quiet on Nkandla sickbay


Its own enquiry into military aspects of the Presidential homestead in KwaZulu-Natal was completed a year ago but the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) and the Department of Defence (DoD) maintain any comment at present would be premature.

DoD head of communications Siphiwe Dlamini said in response to a defenceWeb enquiry on the SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) facility at Nkandla and accommodation for “SANDF members” the Nkandla matter was presently before a Parliamentary ad-hoc committee for further investigation.
“It would therefore be premature to comment,” he said.
defenceWeb requested clarity on the facility, which is now apparently going to be for the use of soldiers deployed to the northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal and people either resident at or visiting Nkandla. Another question related to the accommodation provided in the form of thatched units for police and soldiers. This publication understands the accommodation will be for SAMHS personnel only and no other SANDF personnel will be deployed at the homestead for security purposes.

The facility, also known as a sickbay, has not yet been fitted with any medical or other equipment. This, members of the ad-hoc committee and media were recently told during a site visit, was due to the ongoing Nkandla investigation.

The SANDF constituted its own board of enquiry into military aspects of the upgrades to the Presidential homestead in the wake of widespread reporting on different aspects of what was said to be the R243 million spend on security upgrades. These include a firepool, chicken run and culvert to allow passage of livestock so as not to interfere with security beams.

The SANDF enquiry was chaired by SA Army Chief Lieutenant General Vusi Masondo and its report has not been made public. One of the senior officers involved, former Surgeon General Lieutenant General Vejay Ramlakan, last year issued a personal statement denying allegations he had not given evidence to the enquiry. He retired earlier this year as Director: Corporate Services of the SANDF. Lieutenant General Aubrey Sedibe was named surgeon General in April 2013.