It has taken an official Parliamentary question for the Department of Defence (DoD) to inform South Africa, via defence and military veterans minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, of at least some thinking behind the pool of specialists’ concept in the Reserve Force.
Opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow defence and military veterans minister Kobus Marais was told by Mapisa-Nqakula there are “no specific academic qualifications prescribed to be a member of one of the categories in the pool of specialists” with the qualifier that “academic qualifications are one of the criteria when potential members are selected.”
Marais’ question related particularly to a call-up last year of SA Irish Regiment honorary colonel Brian Molefe, loudly decried by the SA National Defence Union (Sandu). The military trade union maintained the call-up was unlawful and fraudulent because Molefe was an honorary colonel. It also took exception to Molefe working with “budgetary affairs of the SANDF, which inevitably provides him access to classified information, when he holds no security classification as required by the Defence Act”.
Another military trade union SASFU (SA Security Forces Union) said in November when it became public knowledge that Molefe had been called up and was assisting the SANDF with “auditing queries” it was a case of corruption. At that time Molefe was apparently unemployed, having been dismissed as chief executive of embattled national electricity generator, Eskom.
DoD head of communications Siphiwe Dlamini subsequently said in a statement Molefe was not paid for the call-up. This was confirmed by Mapisa-Nqakula who said in her written response Molefe “preferred to do the work pro bono” but “to comply with DoD regulations regarding access to information and military cantonments, he was officially called up”.
She also pointed out Molefe’s experience in the field of public finances as well as “his demonstrated leadership role in National Treasury after 1994 as well as his experience as chief executive of the PIC (Public Investment Corporation)”.
“He advised and assisted the Military Command Council with regard to strategic SANDF issues in the asset management and financial structure and architecture domains. Although he was called up over period specified, he only reported for duty as and when necessitated by his allocated responsibilities and tasks,” part of the Minister’s response reads.