President Jacob Zuma has appointed former director general of transport Mpumi Mpofu as the new defence secretary, the presidency said on Tuesday.
Mpofu will replace Lieutenant-General Themba Templeton Matanzima who acted in the position for a month. He will return to his job as Chief of Joint Operations for the South African National Defence Force.
Democratic Alliance defence spokesman David Maynier pointed out that Mpofu faced a multitude of challenges in the troubled department and said he was concerned about her lack of experience in the field.
"The fact is that the defence department is in a huge mess and Mpumi Mpofu is a defence outsider," Maynier said in a statement.
"The key issue is therefore whether she has the right stuff to turn the defence department around. Hopefully, Ms Mpofu's experience at the top level of the public service will stand her in good stead and compensate for her limited defence experience."
Matanzima last month stepped into the shoes of acting defence secretary Tsepe Motumi when he was made director general for military veterans.
The move came after Motumi was sharply criticised for repeatedly failing to answer questions from Parliament's watchdog public accounts committee on the auditor-general's critical report on financial mismanagement in the department. - Sapa