DA lays charges against Operation Thusano culprits

Issued by Kobus Marais MP – DA Shadow Minister of Defence
09 Jun 2022 in News

Please find attached English and Afrikaans soundbites by Kobus Marais MP.

Yesterday, the DA laid criminal charges against the officials implicated in the Operation Thusano malfeasance. This after the Minister of Defence, Thandi Modise, and the Secretary for Defence, Gladys Kudjoe, failed to do their duty in bringing these officials to account.

Through Operation Thusano, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has already funnelled R1.4 billion to Cuba, with R1.2 billion more budgeted to further benefit the Cubans. The Auditor-General of South Africa (AG) found that all expenditure since Operation Thusano’s inception in 2015 until December 2021 has been irregular, with no procurement procedures followed or deviations obtained prior to entering into supplementary agreements.

It is clear that the ANC government was either bamboozled when they entered into the Operation Thusano agreements, or it is further evidence of their corruption. South Africa has reaped no benefits from this agreement, while the Cubans grow rich from South African taxes.

It was under the guise of Operation Thusano that SANDF smuggled Interferon (Heberon Alpha-2B) into the country during the Covid-19 pandemic at a cost of $20 million, of which $2 million was irregularly paid.

To this day, Interferon has not been registered with the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) as a Covid-prophylactic.

When questioned about the procurement of the drug at a parliamentary portfolio committee on defence meeting in February 2021, Major-General Mzikayise Tyhalisi claimed the pandemic was a “biological warfare problem” – the former Minister of Defence, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, immediately denied this. During yesterday’s portfolio committee meeting, Major-General Tyhalisi said in his presentation that SANDF was in a state of emergency, which absolved them from adhering to the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).

It is clear that the ANC government’s agreement with Cuba takes precedent over the needs of our country. Even before the Covid-pandemic pushed the South African economy over the edge it was teetering on, the ANC ignored the PFMA and abused taxpayers, while bleeding SANDF dry. It is time we cut all ties with Cuba.