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DA calls for Defence minister to lay criminal charges against Thusano officials

SANDF soldiers march past during the mass march in central Johannesburg. File picture: Kim Ludbrook.

SANDF soldiers march past during the mass march in central Johannesburg. File picture: Kim Ludbrook.

Published May 23, 2022

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The DA is calling on both the Minister of Defence Thandi Modise and the Secretary for Defence Gladys Kudjoe to lay criminal charges against all implicated officials of Operation Thusano, by May 27.

“Should the Minister fail to act by then, we will lay the criminal charges ourselves,” the party said in a statement on Monday.

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In the statement, DA shadow minister of defence Kobus Marais also said: “Operation Thusano is an agreement with Cuba, that has seen payments totalling R1.4 billion made to the Caribbean nation by the Department of Defence. The ANC government has also seen fit to donate R50 million in food to Cuba, while doing nothing to address South African food security for the country’s poorest of the poor. This would form part of a larger donation of R350 million to Cuba, as recently revealed by court documents. Not to mention the more than R147 million loaned to Cuba since 2018.”

Marais also believes there is foul play in the agreement between Operation Thusano and Cuba.

“A few weeks ago, the auditor-general (AG) found, after further investigations, that all these transactions with Cubans, under project Thusano, are irregular and should be registered like that in the register of irregular expenditure,” he added.

Marais further told IOL that the Modise must take action against the whole issue or the DA will take further steps.

“We are asking for the termination of this contract because as the AG has indicated that, in terms of the Constitution, it is unfair,” he said.

Regarding the matter of the ANC donating R50 million, Marais said: “Our children are hungry and how on earth can we do that while we are suffering. Remember, in 2020, around August, there was an article about us donating medical stuff to Cuba, that was the same stuff they were smuggling in their Interferon drug.”

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When commenting about the South African economic state, Marais said a practical example is Denel.

“Denel will probably fold and most people will be out of jobs, and Denel is the original equipment manufacturer that the Cubans are contracted to maintain and dismantle. So jobs could be saved, a whole organisation could be saved with R2.7 billion,” he maintained.

He expressed how shocked he is that the government is so loyal to Cuba, to close its eyes to the effect on South Africans.

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He further said the Minister had however called him to expressed her concerns about other matters.

The opposition party said, in their statement regarding this matter, that they will not stand for this and will not stop until all officials complicit in this vile act are in orange overalls.

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