Modise’s utterances are reckless and embarrassing

Issued by Kobus Marais MP – DA Shadow Minister of Defence and Military Veterans
24 May 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached Afrikaans and English soundbite by Kobus Marais MP.

The DA strongly condemns the statement made by the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Thandi Modise, during the budget debate, where she and fellow ANC members of parliament nonchalantly declared the cargo loaded on the Lady R as confidential. Her crude words, “We put f***l on that ship. Nothing” displays a shocking level of ignorance and disregard for South Africa’s security and sovereign integrity. It is an embarrassment.

Will she repeat this utterance when she is brought before the commission of inquiry, which admittedly has yet to materialise.

Yesterday’s debate was an opportune moment for the Minister to dispel the rumours and allegations made by the American ambassador. However, once again, she failed to do so. We demand that the Minister reveals the manifest of the cargo. Until she does not, we will see it as an admission that South Africa indeed supplied arms and/or ammunition to Russia.

During the budget debate, I personally challenged the Minister to tell the truth and make the ship’s cargo manifest available to the public. If the cargo did not consist of ammunition or weapon components, then why the unnecessary secrecy? The Minister’s refusal to provide transparency raises serious concerns about the motives behind this secrecy.

It is evident that the South African government has developed an irrational love affair with Russia. Over the past three decades, our government has prioritized the United States and the European Union as crucial trade and investment partners, resulting in significant surpluses. However, when it comes to China and especially Russia, we have experienced trade and investment deficits. This skewed approach raises questions about the government’s priorities and commitment to the best interests of our country.

If Minister Modise genuinely does not possess knowledge of the cargo’s content, she has lost control over the military and should resign. A Minister of Defence who lacks awareness of what is being transported into a naval base and loaded on a vessel under her jurisdiction poses a grave security risk to our nation. We cannot afford such breaches in our security apparatus.

The DA urges the Minister to take immediate action and provide full disclosure regarding the cargo on the Lady R. There are just too many rumours going around and the people of South Africa deserve transparency and accountability from their elected officials, especially when it concerns matters of national security. We will continue to hold Minister Modise and the government accountable until the truth is revealed and appropriate action is taken to ensure the security and sovereignty of our great nation.