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DEFENCE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
13 September 2000
INTEGRATION INTO THE SANDF: AUDIT REPORT
Chairperson : Ms T R Modise (ANC)
The Audit Report was not made available put can be obtained from Mr January Masilela at (011) 355 6201
The Minister of Defence presented the results of the audit undertaken to investigate the integration process of non-statutory soldiers into the SANDF. Three options were presented as possible ways forward. It was decided that it should be accepted that although incidents of fraudulent integration existed, the process should move forward as adequate. When incidents of fraud are uncovered, these will be processed to the full extent of the law.
The Minister, Mr M Lekota, apologised for not being able to attend the meeting the previous day, explaining that he had been held up in a Cabinet meeting which had lasted far longer than had been anticipated.
He began his report by reminding the committee that after the 1994 elections the Auditor General was asked to monitor the integration process of former liberation soldiers into the ranks of the South African National Defence Force. 1235 individuals were identified and interviewed, focusing on the integration process from its inception.
Incidents of fraudulent integration that were uncovered:
- Two individuals were identified as having integrated into the SANDF, demobilised and then re-integrated at a later stage.
- Three individuals were identified as having integrated into the SANDF under pseudonyms.
- It was discovered that of the demobilisation payments, 261 cheques were paid into the same bank account. On further investigation it was shown that these payments had been made by 164 actual individuals, and the further 97 cases were not followed up. The explanation for these cheques being paid into the same account is that most liberation soldiers do not have bank accounts, and that a 'sympathetic' party most likely cashed the cheques for these people.
- Two out of 42 applicable cases were identified where fraudulent military service certificates had resulted from a forged signature on the certificate.
- Where prisoners had been identified for demobilisation, these individuals were all paid out accordingly.
- Three instances were uncovered where duplicate demobilisation payments were made.
- It was shown that the administration of the SANDF had been lacking during the intake of former liberation soldiers. This resulted in a search to establish whether integrated members did indeed exist on the bases assigned to them.
- Thirteen out of an applicable 119 integrated members did not know their combat names. This is attributed to the fact that some people have used unclaimed combat names and the fact that confusion as to their 'file name' has resulted from frequent changes to combat names.
- It must be accepted that due to the fact that Certified Personnel Review documents were used as the primary documents for integration, these documents may be the source of the problem. Although this may lead to the belief that structures have become weak and corrupt, this is not the case.
- Of 29 939 names on the Certified Personnel Review (CPR):
10% (2994) names were used as a basis for the study
532 files were reviewed.
6% of MK names were not reflected in the CPR
33% of APLA names were not reflected in the CPR
49 MK names were not reflected in the consolidated CPR (out of the sample)
37 APLA names were not reflected in the consolidated CPR (out of the sample)
It was also found that although some members names appeared on the original CPR register, they were missing from the consolidated CPR. The integrity of the consolidated CPR is therefore doubtful.
This 'audit' was done to establish whether it can be accepted that integration has taken place reasonably. This has resulted in three options arising:
· A full audit can be undertaken of the entire population of integrated soldiers. It must be noted that this will not only extend the audit process, resulting in problems for departmental planning, but will also cost the department in the region of R 40 million. An added consideration is that a full audit may be interpreted as a 'witch hunt' which will be detrimental to morale levels and deepen polarisation within the SANDF.
· It can be accepted that a limited amount of fraud has occurred and the SANDF should proceed as if the process has been adequate. When cases of fraud are discovered, these should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
· Blanket amnesty can be granted to all who fraudulently integrated and the chapter can be closed.
The Department has decided to select Option two, acknowledging that the process is faulty, but accepting that for objective reasons liberation movements were not able to keep records that are as good as government's. Where cases of fraud are uncovered, law will take its course. No general amnesty will therefore be granted. It is the Department's view that it would be extreme and unwarranted to spend R 40 million on further investigation of the full population.
The Chair, Ms Modise, underlined that the Minister and the Department both recommended moving for Option two.
Mr Ndlovu (IFP) supported the position that in individual cases where fault could not clearly be determined it would be possible to grant amnesty, but could not support the granting of a blanket amnesty.
Mr Mashimbye (ANC) stated that the transparency of the process was not in question, and that nothing appeared hidden with regard to those who had committed fraud. It is healthy to allow a transparent process, but an excessive spending of money should not be allowed.
A member from the UDM stated that the sooner this issue was behind the committee, the better as it has been outstanding for some time. For the sake of transparency the UDM would support the proposal by the Minister, allowing the process to continue moving forward.
The DP also stated that they supported the proposal, particularly from the perspective of veterans.
The representative from the NNP stated that from his own perspective, he supported the proposal to move forward, but undertook to check this with the regular NNP committee member, Mr H Smit. He stated that he would report back to the Chair should the NNP's position.
The Chair stated that as all were in agreement, she would like to inform the Minister that this seemed like the correct option to take.
Mr Ndlovu asked whether this meant that integration has closed for once and for all.
The Minister replied that the Department is moving legislation to close the process. As this process was opened by an Act of Parliament, a further act should be passed to conclude the process, and this Bill has been drafted and is waiting to be tabled.
A member asked regarding developments around the issue of the ranks assigned to part-time members of the SANDF.
The Minister replied that an interim report of the Ministry has been compiled, and that he would welcome an opportunity to address the relevant committees regarding this. This report includes the issue of the ranking of part-time members.
Ms Kota (ANC) asked the Minister for any feedback on the two intelligence members who were recently beaten up, asking when a report can be expected by the committee.
The Minister replied that he would report on both this issue and the Phalaborwa incident as soon as possible.
The Chair thanked the Minister for his report and concluded the meeting.
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