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Thandi Modise spells out measures to clean up Defence Department

Defence Minister Thandi Modise. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

Defence Minister Thandi Modise. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

Published May 24, 2022


Cape Town - Defence Minister Thandi Modise has spelled out what she wants her departmental top brass to do to clean up corruption within the department.

Speaking during the debate in her department’s budget vote on Tuesday, Modise said she has directed Secretary of Defence Sonto Kudjoe to enhance governance in the department and provide necessary support she required as the minister.

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“I am seriously concerned about irregularities and corruption in our procurement systems. If there is anything we must fix quickly, it is our procurement,” she said.

“I am alarmed at the number of audit qualifications in the Department of Defence as well as the number of illicit activities, fraud and corruption that are coming to my attention,” she said.

“This can’t continue to go unabated. That means an accountability framework system in the department has to be overhauled,” Modise said.

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The minister told the National Assembly that she remained concerned about the state of financial and resource management in the department.

“We need to demonstrate to the auditor-general, the Department of Public Service and Administration and the National Treasury that we are very serious when we go about our business.

“They are our key stakeholders. We must demonstrate good governance, accountability and consequence management.”

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Modise said she has instructed Kudjoe to institute a high integrity procurement system.

“It is necessary that the system bring with it impartiality, checks and balances we need for value for money. She must also interrogate all instances of irregular, wasteful and unauthorised expenditure and institute appropriate consequence management.”

Modise also said she interrogates all reports and even prefers criminal charges against those responsible.

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“This must extend to both civilian employees and uniformed members.”

She said they must apply the principles of minimising, prioritising, rightsizing and optimising all aspects of the defence organisation.

“I have asked the secretary of defence and the chief of the National Defence Force to review budget allocations and reassign funding against the priorities they identified, including, if need be, a zero-based budgeting system.

“I need to continue the reduction of personnel to the compensation to reach the ceiling we have identified as well as to continuously rejuvenate the personnel complement.

“The cost-saving interventions we need to achieve in the procurement system will be worth it in the long term,” Modise said.

The minister also said they could not ignore the plight of the defence industry.

“This sector has historically delivered an excellent return on government investment.

“It is not only a mainstream industrial manufacturing and developmental role-player, but also key to the sovereignty of this republic.”

Modise said she has instructed the board of Armscor to commission a hard-hitting and uncompromising economic review of the public and private companies in the defence industry and to provide a sober, realistic and unemotional analysis of the capabilities of companies remaining in the public and private component of the industry.

This, she said, was to make hard choices on an informed basis, among other things.

Cape Times

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