Brian Molefe

Johannesburg - The South African Defence Force (SANDF) on Monday responded to criticism around the call-up of sacked Eskom chief executive officer Brian Molefe, saying the move was above board.

Weekend reports claimed that Molefe, an honorary colonel, has been called up by SANDF and offered a salary of R57,000 a month since August. 

"As previously stated, like many reserve force members who are called-up to assist the defence force in many areas of expertise, Mr Molefe has been called up on several occasions to provide the defence force with the required skill since he has been a reserve force member," said the department of defence in a statement.

"Mr Molefe is part of the specialist group of people who time and again would be called up for specific duties over a specific short term period as per the requirement of the defence force."

The department said reserve members are called up on "a continuous or non-continuous" basis according to the requirements of the SANDF. 

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"For example, reserve members called up for border safeguarding are called up for a pre-deployment training period (37 days) and a six month (180 days) deployment on the borders. At Army HQ, officers and other ranks are also called-up for extended periods of time when there is a requirement for expertise that is not otherwise available."

The department said on 14 May 2011 the minister of defence appointed Molefe as the honorary colonel of the South African Irish Regiment. 

"This appointment did not nullify his appointment as a reserve colonel but functions in tandem. 

"A different set of rules governs the utilisation of honorary colonels as indicated in the regulations for the reserve force. In the case of his duties as an honorary colonel, Molefe may not and does not, receive remuneration.

The department said it was strange that of all the other members who are in the same category as Molefe, and have been called-up time and again, their call ups have never raised any eyebrows. 

"One wonders why then Mr Molefe has been singled out as if he is the only one who has had a call-up, whereas the Reserve Force has many members who offer the Defence Force many different skills and are remunerated according to the specific policies and regulations."

Earlier on Monday the South African National Defence Union said it was "perplexed" by Molefe's call-up and would be laying a fraud complaint in that regard with the police.