General “Mojo” Motau remains the head of the Armaments Corporation of South Africa (Armscor) and has not been fired, according to the minister of defence, who added that several officials have been suspended due to tender irregularities and contravening internal Armscor processes.
In response to a parliamentary question posed by the opposition Democratic Alliance party’s shadow defence minister David Maynier, the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula stated that, “In the meeting with the Board of Armscor it was confirmed that the person (name and details furnished) is still the Chairperson of the Armscor Board and has not been dismissed.”
She was referring to Lieutenant General (Retd) Moriti “Mojo” Motau, chair of Armscor. Apparent confusion arose on June 11 when then-Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu, wrote to Motau: “Having applied my mind to the functioning and operations of the current Board of Armscor, I have decided to appoint Ms R Mokoena as Chairperson of the Armscor Board and Mr EL Borole as Deputy Chairperson of the Armscor Board with immediate effect.” Sisulu was posted to another department in a Cabinet reshuffle the next day.
Motau reportedly refused to vacate his position, leaving Armscor with two directors of the board. It is not clear why the former minister fired Motau but one reason could be the controversial strategy designed to take Armscor into the 21st Century, Maynier said. The paper, entitled Repositioning Armscor: Strategy through the 21st Century was reportedly rubbished by Armscor senior management as “a document that shows an abysmal lack of understanding of the business in general and the technicalities in particular”. Business Day newspaper reported in July that two senior Armscor officials had been suspended for reportedly criticising a board-composed strategy for the company as being “irrational” and a “recipe for disaster”.
The strategy was also at odds with the proposal to establish at “Defence Material Organisation” in the Defence Review. And the strategy was also apparently not supported by the defence department. Business Day reported that the action against Pierre Meiring and Kgathatso Thlakudi followed the suspension of two other senior officials a few months ago and “represents the continued haemorrhaging of skills and experience from the company.”
In her reply to Maynier’s question, Mapisa-Nqakula stated that the company (Armscor) had suspended two officials due to tender irregularities. “The disciplinary process for one official (name furnished) was completed and was subsequently dismissed. The disciplinary hearing for the other official (name furnished) has been completed and the verdict is awaited in this regard.
“The other two officials (names furnished); were suspended for inter alia, the unlawful distribution of certain Armscor documents and incitement of employees, in contravention of Armscor internal processes,” the minister stated.
“The respective disciplinary processes are underway and are conducted in accordance with a fair procedure as prescribed in terms of Labour relations Act as well as relevant Armscor disciplinary practices and procedures.”