The Democratic Alliance (DA) will be requesting an urgent sitting of the Joint Standing Committee of Intelligence and the Joint Standing Committee of Defence at the National Assembly where National Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula, must account for a string of egregious corruption allegations levelled against her Department in 2020.
On 17 December 2020, The Star Newspaper revealed a leaked investigative report into the Department of Defence which revealed alarming allegations of corruption within Defence Intelligence to the value of more than R4 billion.
The investigation also revealed that Defence Intelligence funds were looted in 2018, detailing a series of corrupt procurement deals including a suspicious cybersecurity training tender which was awarded to a company by the name of “Sabre Technologies”.
The company was paid R22 588 670 in advance without following due process and proper approval. It is believed that the Head of Defence Intelligence approved the tender on 26 October 2018, a month before the tender went through the budget and procurement processes.
The investigative report relating to the corruption in Defence Intelligence which was leaked to the Star Newspaper, and assumed to be classified, was never discussed in the Joint Standing Committee of Intelligence at Parliament. This Committee is solely responsible for the oversight of this Department and any procurement of services it may undertake.
Minister Mapisa Nqakula must also account for a series of Departmental blunders over the course of the year, including:
- Her initial support of the South African National Defence Force’s findings into the death of Collins Khosa which seemingly exonerated the SANDF with an affidavit to the court, only to later claim that she was misled by SANDF leadership;
- The complete flouting of legislation and regulations on 9 September 2020 when she and an ANC delegation travelled to Zimbabwe with a Falcon-900 Jet, later touted the infamous #Jetgate; and
- The SANDF’s waste of at least R215 million on the seemingly illegal importation of an unregistered Covid-19 treatment drug known as ‘Interferon’ from Cuba without consultation with the Department of Health and other state departments. This came to light in November 2020.
In total, the R4 billion looted from the Department could have been used for more pressing needs such as the prevention of over expenditure on costs of employees which contributed to the qualified audit finding by the Auditor General, the essential midlife upgrades of the three Frigates to the value of R2,25 billion, and the essential midlife upgrades of the three submarines to the value of R1,35 billion.
This money could also have gone towards Projects Hotel and Biro. The first in-shore patrol vessel under Project Biro is near completion with expected delivery date in the first half of 2021.
Minister Mapisa Nqakula must urgently account for the corruption allegations levelled against her department over the course of the year and explain the billions wasted under her watch while South Africa’s defence and intelligence continue to suffer.