PARTY

SANDF legal costs double to R21,3m - Pieter Groenewald

FF+ MP says defence force is often unnecessarily contesting cases

DEFENCE FORCE'S LEGAL FEES DOUBLES - R21,3 MILLION

The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Ms. Lindiwe Sisulu, revealed in Parliament that the Defence Force's total legal costs for last year (2010/01) amounted to R21,311 million. She was replying to a question of Mr. Pieter Groenewald, chief spokesperson for the Freedom Front Plus on Defence.

The amount of legal costs doubled from the previous financial year (2009/10) from R10,588 to R21,311 million. The minister could not say which part of the amount was due to court cases which the Defence Force had lost and for which an order to pay costs had been awarded against the Defence Force. The Defence Force had to pay R4,5 million (R4 512 201) for cases involving the trade union South African Defence Force Union (SANDU).

"It is very worrying that the legal costs had doubled and the minister does not know what the costs are for those cases which the Defence Force had lost. It is often reported in the media that the Defence Force had lost a court case and then taxpayers have to foot the bill. In my opinion various court cases are unnecessary and testify of a laxity and arrogance on the side of the Defence Force because they do not arrive for the court cases or react to court orders.

Various examples are cases which the SANDU had won. The minister will have to seriously look at her legal advisors and the Freedom Front Plus will be insisting on the cost of cases lost being calculated by the Defence Force," Mr. Pieter Groenewald (MP), chief spokesperson of the Freedom Front Plus says.

REPLY FROM THE MINISTER:

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
QUESTION FOR WRITTEN REPLY
QUESTION NUMBER 1292
DATE OF PUBLICATION: 21 APRIL 2011

Mr P J Groenewald (FF Plus) to ask the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans

(1) What amount has her department spent on legal costs (a) in the 2009-10 financial year and (b) during the period 1 April up to the latest specified date for which information is available;

(2) what amount had to be paid in each of these periods owing to a court judgment where her department had to bear the costs for the State;

(3) what was the total amount that her department had to pay for lawsuits in which the SA National Defence Union (SANDU) had been a party (a) in the 2009-10 financial year and (b) during the period 1 April up to the latest specified date for which information is available? (NW1433E)

REPLY:

(1) The total amounts spent on legal costs for FY 2009/10 and 2010/11 are as follows:

(a) 2009/10 FY: Rm 10, 588; and

(b) 2010/11 FY: Rm 21, 311.

The amount relating 2010/11 FY is still provisional at this stage, as the audit process is not yet finalised by the Auditor-General.

(2) The total amounts of legal costs carried by the Department in the respective financial years are as set out in (1) above. The Department's financial management system only records legal fees paid in respect of all litigation and therefore does not discriminate between payments made as a result of court judgments, settlements etc.

(3) The total amount paid in lawsuits involving SANDU is Rm 4,512,201.06, being outstanding membership subscriptions due to SANDU between Oct 2007 and July 2009 plus interest at the legal rate of 15,5%. This amount was paid in Sep 2009 as a result of the court order of Justice Legodi of 07 Aug 2009.

Statement issued by Mr. Pieter Groenewald, FF Plus Spokesperson: Defence, August 10 2011

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