Mapisa-Nqakula told she is “not nearly good enough” by top weekly


Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula did not cover herself in glory last year, the Mail & Guardian says in its 2016 Cabinet Report Card.

The weekly starts off its roast of her saying she was “defiantly unapologetic about revelations she had smuggled a Burundian into the country, which gave every appearance of having been a flagrant breaking of the law”.
“As disconcerting as that attitude towards the law is in a defence minister, it is not a reflection of her overall performance,” the publication continues, maintaining “that is better measured by the weakening performance of the defence force and the continuing mismanagement of veteran affairs and what both say about the incapacity of the minister herself”.
“In the past financial year, maritime defence spent about 10% less time at sea than it had planned. But the time spent in the air by the air force was far worse: 26% short of the target and down from the previous financial year. In total, the air force was in the air for 10 days fewer this year [2016] than last — and nearly a fifth of the time it did spend in the air was in ferrying around VIPs such as President Jacob Zuma.
“These failures to patrol the skies and the seas indicate an inability to manage maintenance facilities on the one hand and hamper the development of pilots and sailors on the other. The minister shows no signs of having a plan to get it right, neither at the management level nor at the political, where she should be agitating for sufficient funds to keep ships afloat and aircraft flying.
“The other part of Mapisa-Nqakula’s portfolio is veteran affairs, which should be a matter of stretching too little money as far as she can. So Parliament was shocked to learn that, after falling 2?959 houses short of a target to build 3?000, the department had to return the money allocated for the houses to the national purse.
“Meanwhile, a year after grandly launching a turnaround strategy, Mapisa-Nqakula admitted her department did not yet have a clean database of military veterans, there could be many falsely registered veterans and it did not have a clear method of verification.
“Not good enough, minister. Not nearly good enough,” the Mail & Guardian said.

The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party also slammed the minister in its 2016 report card, giving her an E rating.
“In our harsh economic climate, the Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans must reposition itself and reprioritise expenses to fit into the available resources provided by Treasury. They must ‘cut their cloth to size’ and accept South Africa is not in a conventional warfare situation,” the DA said.
“Unfortunately, the Minister is doing just the opposite: her unwavering demand for a new presidential jet calls into question her fitness to lead the Ministry. She irrationally commits to providing ever-greater luxury for the President and his friends, while ignoring the constitutional role of the military. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Inkwazi – the only problem is the lack of funding allocated to maintaining military equipment. Buying a new jet won’t solve that problem it will just be an unacceptable waste of public money.
“Within its own financial and skills abilities, the Department of Defence and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) must fulfil their obligations, as is expected of them. If the Minister’s mismanagement of defence matters continues, the armed forces will slide inevitably further into chaos and incompetence,” the report card notes.

Mapisa-Nqakula is also taken to task for not having a clearly articulated vision for the Defence Ministry and the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).
“She seems to be more focused on ensuring luxury travels for the President by procuring a new intercontinental VIP jet, than making efforts to rebuild the SANDF’s capability via the implementation of the Defence Review. Progress toward achieving Milestone 1 of the Review – simply to halt the decline in military capability – is haphazard and vague,” according to the report card, which adds her statements are sometimes at odds with those of senior military officials.

The Department of Military Veterans (DMV) is “dysfunctional” and service delivery to military veterans is very poor with previous statutory forces not receiving the same benefits as previous non-statutory forces, according to the DA.

Mapisa-Nqakula’s attendance in the National Assembly and at portfolio committee meetings is said to be poor. The report card also notes her written responses to parliamentary questions “require improvement and can be described as average at best”.

Additionally, she relies increasingly on national security concerns to avoid making information regarding the Department of Defence’s policies and activities available “despite occasionally releasing sensitive information through non-Parliamentary channels herself”. This is in reference to the cost of the new VVIP jet.