Seventy-one military vehicles “missing”


The “control” portion of the military acronym C2 does not appear to be well enforced especially at the SA National Defence Force’s (SANDF) general support base in Limpopo.

Afrikaans daily Beeld reports the base in Polokwane is “missing” 71 vehicles, among them a Mamba mine protected vehicle and a field kitchen.

Also apparently missing in action are three water tankers, each with a 900 litre plus capacity, and a number of trucks. Also unaccounted for is a trailer fitted with transportable showers as well as motorcycles, fuel tankers and a number of Samil trucks.

The paper said an internal SANDF signal with a list of the missing vehicles has been “hastily” dispatched to every SANDF unit in the country, complete with registration details and descriptions.

The signal is headed “Missing vehicles: if found contact Lieutenant Colonel (name and contact details deleted)”.

The paper reports senior officers as saying the signal comes hard on the heels of an instruction issued by SANDF Chief, General Solly Shoke, who wants the registration of each and every military vehicle entered into a central database.
“Missing” vehicles have to be found or an explanation given as to what has happened to those that cannot be tracked down.

The creation of a central database can be traced back to the last Auditor General report on the SANDF. The “qualified audit” was issued because documentation and accounting was not up to date and will also see tracking done and databases set up for weapons and buildings.

An officer commanding told Beeld poor administration was the major cause of the un- and non-accountability of equipment and that it was a bigger problem at certain units than others.

He gave the example of a vehicle which could have been involved in an accident while on official business. If damaged beyond repair there is a laid down procedure for it to be scrapped from the fleet inventory. A specific example is that of a Casspir which has been at the bottom of Lake Kivu in the DRC since 2004. That was when it “fell” into the water resulting in the death by drowning of six soldiers.

Suitably qualified Reserve Force soldiers have been called up to assist with the verification programme while the hunt for thousands of items of equipment is ongoing.