Immediate past DMV Director General resigned, not dismissed

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In March last year, Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) heard that Department of Military Veterans (DMV) Director General Irene Mpolweni was suspended.

The announcement, along with an Auditor General briefing reporting “material irregularities” at Minister Thandi Modise’s Department of Defence and Military Veterans (DoDMV), elicited only a Parliamentary Communications Service statement. It read, in part, “…the Director General in the DMV has been suspended”.

Fourteen months later, defenceWeb was informed Mpolweni resigned on 15 February after serving a month’s notice.

Her position was first filled – on an acting basis – by former SA Navy (SAN) Chief, retired Vice Admiral Mosiwa Hlongwane. He moved into the DMV offices in Pretoria’s Hatfield in March 2023 until he was replaced by another Acting Director General, Nontobeko Mafu. No announcement was made regarding Hlongwane’s exit or Mafu’s temporary appointment.

This publication picked up on the arrival of the acting Director General – the fourth in recent years – via her signing off on a presentation for the PCDMV. The DMV has not made public her CV or given a timeframe for her temporary tenure.

Mpolweni’s suspension was widely seen as involving unspecified irregularities with no information released by the DMV as regards charges against her or updates on suspension hearings.

Responding to another defenceWeb inquiry, the DMV said: “The Department would like to place it on record, that Ms Irene Mpolweni was not dismissed from the public service. She resigned on 15 February 2024; she served her one month notice period until the 15 March 2024. The President accepted her resignation in writing. There is an Acting DG, Ms Nontobeko Mafu”.

Asked about the Mpolweni suspension, PCDMV co-chair Cyril Xaba said her disciplinary process was “taking longer than anticipated”. Speaking to defenceWeb earlier this month he indicated “she (Mpolweni) was “released about two months ago”, which coincides with her exit date as provided by the DMV. Xaba added a replacement would be a responsibility of the seventh administration which South Africans went to the polls to vote for on 29 May.