Minister welcomes Armscor ruling

Johannesburg - Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula on Tuesday welcomed a Constitutional Court judgment which upheld the dismissal of two Armscor executives.

“We welcome the judgment by the Constitutional Court. We have maintained, as now confirmed by the Constitutional Court, that the decision to remove the two was not only rational, but was in the best interest of the operational readiness of the SANDF,” Mapisa-Nqakula said in a statement.

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. Credit: GCIS

“The department and myself will still study the specific implications of the judgment.”

On Tuesday, the court upheld Mapisa-Nqakula's dismissal of retired Lt-Gen Maomela Motau as chairman and of deputy chairwoman Refiloe Mokoena.

The majority of the court held that the minister's decision in the matter amounted to an executive action rather than an administrative one.

The minister had justified her decision by citing various procurement projects, which had failed to progress timeously as a result of board decisions or inaction.

Other reasons included complaints she received about Armscor from the defence industry, indicating that the relationship between the two had broken down.

The Constitutional Court further held that the minister was required to comply with the process for the dismissal of directors as set out in the Companies Act. Her failure in this respect made her decision unlawful.

However, the court held the very exceptional circumstances of the matter meant that it would not be just and equitable to award a remedy of reinstatement.

Despite the defects of the minister’s decision, she had demonstrated good cause under the Armscor Act that the corporation, with the two executives as leaders, had failed to discharge it mandate.