Johannesburg - Experts are needed to run arms procurement parastatal Armscor to prevent serious consequences for South Africa, the FF Plus said on Wednesday.
“Armscor plays an important role in the industry and requires specialists to do the work,” Freedom Front Plus spokesman Pieter Groenewald said in a statement.
He was responding to Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula's sacking of Armscor chairman Lt-Gen Moreti Motau and deputy chairwoman Refiloe Mokoena on Wednesday.
Groenewald said Mapisa-Nqakula needed to put aside cadre deployment and transformation in favour of appointing experienced experts.
“Important contracts such as the maintenance contract for the police's helicopters and the air force's support contract were not renewed, which holds serious consequences for the combating of crime and the safeguarding of the country.”
The Democratic Alliance welcomed Mapisa-Nqakula's decision to fire Motau.
DA defence spokesman David Maynier said he had failed to deliver on his promise to improve Armscor, which he made when he was first appointed chairman.
“However, the drastic action he promised included a controversial strategic plan, which had little support in the defence department.”
Maynier claimed Motau had caused “civil war” within Armscor by purging it of senior staff members.
Earlier, Mapisa-Nqakula's spokesman Sonwabo Mbananga said Motau and Mokoena were told to vacate office in terms of section 8c of the Armaments Corporation of SA Limited Act.
This section allows the minister to terminate services if “good cause” was shown.
Mbananga said in a statement that the axing was related to “matters of governance”.
“In order to carry out their function, the chair and deputy chair have to efficiently support government and particularly the department of defence,” he said.
“They were not creating such an enabling environment.”
Mbananga said Mapisa-Nqakula had made a decision in the interests of Armscor's ability to effectively deliver on its objective and mandate set out in the act.
“The minister will proceed with the Cabinet process to fill in three vacancies that currently exist in the board, inclusive of the vacancies that occurred as a result of this decision,” he said.
“Only once the full complement of the board is in place will she designate a new chairperson and deputy chairperson from among the members of the board for the remainder of the current term of office of the board.”
This process was expected to be finalised by the end of September.
The department said there would be no disruption to the workings of the board in that time.
“The minister has reaffirmed her support and the continued confidence she has in the remaining members of the board to take forward the work of the board during this transitional period.” - Sapa