Mapisa-Nqakula: Rot runs deep in SANDF – Pieter Groenewald

FF Plus leader says hopefully action will put an end to ANC’s habit of using Defence Force as its own personal piggy bank

Action taken against Mapisa-Nqakula shows that the rot runs deep in SANDF

22 March 2024

The FF Plus welcomes the action taken by the police and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) against Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Speaker of the National Assembly (NA), for allegedly accepting "gifts" from Defence Force contractors while serving as the Minister of Defence.

The party hopes that the matter will be finalised swiftly and that justice will prevail.

Hopefully, it will put an end to the ANC's custom of three decades to use the Defence Force as its own, personal piggy bank and deploy cadres at the highest level.

It started with the arms deal scandal and later, even utility companies such as Denel were stripped to the bone.

In addition, the Defence Force's budget was repeatedly cut back, consequently, the country's ability to defend itself became questionable and its arms industry was practically destroyed.

Over the past few years, Parliament was informed time and again that urgent interventions are needed to get the country back to a point where it can at least defend itself to some extent.

Mapisa-Nqakula served as the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans during a time of serious decay and decline.

She was appointed as Minister in 2012 and was replaced by Thandi Modise in 2021 after several scandals, such as the Guptas' landing at the Waterkloof Air Force Base, the misuse of an Air Force plane to transport ANC members to Harare, and the shortcomings in the Defence Force which became glaringly obvious during the countrywide unrest in 2021.

A number of whistle-blowers had already come forward in 2021, alleging that Mapisa-Nqakula had accepted millions in bribes from Defence Force contractors. It attracted extensive media coverage and she continued to deny the allegations.

This week, Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Defence was informed that the Department of Defence recovered only R800 of nearly R430 million in fruitless expenditure.

In addition, the Department's unauthorised expenditure already stands at R2,6 billion and could still increase to R5,6 billion by the end of the financial year. Irregular expenditure amounts to R15,98 billion, of which only R76 000 was recovered.

So clearly Minister Modise is simply continuing the legacy of her predecessor as the Department keeps on squandering tax money on large scale.

There is no way that Minister Modise can remain in her office while the Department is totally collapsing under her leadership. A once proud Defence Force and arms industry have been utterly destroyed, first under Mapisa-Nqakula and now Modise.

Hoping that the ANC will or can do something about it will probably only lead to disappointment. The only way to resolve the country's problems is to get rid of the ANC at the polls.

Issued by Pieter Groenewald, FF Plus leader, 22 March 2024