Indications are it’s not only the legal services division of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) that’s battling to meet its commitments – disciplinary hearings for financial misconduct in both the SANDF and the Department of Defence have substantial backlogs.
This was brought to light in response to a Parliamentary question posed by opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow defence and military veterans minister Kobus Marais. He asked the question following sight of a Public Service Commission (PSC) report.
“The report indicated minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s department completed only 17 proceedings against department employees implicated in financial misconduct on March 31, 2017 with another 175 not completed,” he said ahead of questioning the Minister.
In her written response she states: “Of the 175 disciplinary proceedings regarding financial misconduct reported by the PSC, the total number completed to February 28, 2018 is 21”.
She also told Marais a further 10 disciplinary proceedings had been “initiated” since April. These were not completed “due to the complexity of preparing criminal cases and the lengthy processes involved in prosecuting financial misconduct cases, dealing mainly with theft of state funds, fraud and corruption”.
Marais said the lack of action was symbolic of many other issues and challenges facing the South African military.
“All one hears is talk, there doesn’t seem to be any doing and this lack of action around disciplinary hearings is another example,” he said.
Marais will be asking the Minister for more detail in respect of the amounts involved and what steps, if any, have been taken to recover stolen funds.
“The Minister must also inform the public whether cases have been referred to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) where public servants have been found guilty.”
According to the Department of Defence annual performance plan for 2018 the provision of military justice services will be “severely impaired and will result in increases in backlog cases and cases of fraud and corruption”.