Heberon task team report welcomed


The actions of a two-star general who lifted the lid on the controversial and seemingly illegal acquisition of a drug not registered in South Africa was this week commended by the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV).

In a statement issued after the PCDMV had sight of the ministerial task team (MTT) report on the acquisition of Heberon from Cuba, obtained only after a PAIA (Promotion of Access to Information Act) request was submitted to the Department of Defence (DoD) by Democratic Alliance shadow defence and military veterans minister Kobus Marais, it said Major General Lesley Ford’s whistleblowing “on the illegal importation” was a commendable action.

The committee, co-chaired by Cyril Xaba, also had words of praise for the Department of Defence’s chief financial officer Siphiwe Sokhela, who “queried violation of the procurement laws and saved the department from massive irregular and wasteful expenditure”.

“We applaud the CFO and the Major General for standing firm against the unlawful use of taxpayers’ money.”

The committee heard Defence Minister Thandi Modise instructed General Rudzani Maphwanya, SANDF (SA National Defence Force) Chief and Gladys Kudjoe, Secretary for Defence, to implement the MTT findings and ensure those found to have been involved in the illegal acquisition of the drug are brought to book. It expressed satisfaction with the work of the MTT and will wait for the report on implementation of the findings.