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‘Take me to court’ - Thandi Modise dares the DA over Cuban deal

Defence Minister Thandi Modise. Picture: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

Defence Minister Thandi Modise. Picture: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

Published May 24, 2022

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Cape Town - Defence Minister Thandi Modise on Tuesday dared the DA to take her to court over the Cuba-related funding, saying she would jealously guard against legislative overreach into the executive.

This comes after DA MP Sarel Marais again threatened to lay criminal charges if no action was taken against SANDF members responsible for irregularities incurred in the department’s expenditure.

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Speaking during a debate on the Department of Defence budget, Marais said payments of R1.4 billion were made by December 2021 under the questionable Project Thusano agreements with Cuba for technical, professional and vocational services.

He also said SANDF irregularly and illegally procured the Cuban drug Interferon, and that Auditor-General indicated all the expenditure under Operation Thusano had been irregular and wasteful, with no procurement procedures followed.

“The DA will not stand for this. Should the minister and the secretary of defence fail to act against the culprits in terms of their legislative responsibilities and the AG’s recommendations, we will lay criminal charges,” he said.

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He insisted Project Thusano should be terminated immediately.

“We cannot afford the obligation of R1.2 billion payable to Cuba until 2024,” Marais said.

In her response, Modise said she spent a lot of time in the legislative sector.

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“When I was there, I jealously guarded overreach by the executive into the legislative sector. I will guard the same jealousy. The legislative sector must not overreach into the executive arm because if you give me an ultimatum, in terms, ‘if you don’t do this, I am going to do that’, even before we have time to say to you ‘we are looking at this and we are seeing if it’s workable or not’.

“I am afraid then, I must really invite you to take me to court because I am not going to allow the Department of Defence or Military Veterans to get into urgent instruction issued by the portfolio committee or joint standing committee without proper planning, without looking at resource preparation and to make sure there is value for money in what they do,” Modise said.

Cape Times

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