DA submits PAIA application to access the ‘SANDF rogue unit’ report

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

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbites in English and Afrikaans by Kobus Marais MP

The DA has submitted a Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) application to the chief of the SANDF, Gen Rudzani Maphwanya, requesting that he provides us with a copy of the Moorhouse investigation report into criminal activity in the SANDF, which encompassed the activities of some rogue elements within the force.

The SANDF is reported to have instituted a board of inquiry, headed by Brigadier-General John Moorhouse, to investigate complaints of alleged criminal activity within the military. As part of the investigation, the inquiry is said to have heard the testimonies of dozens of witnesses, shone the spotlight on corruption and abuse of office in the military, and heard evidence of torture.

However, six months after the conclusion of the inquiry, and its subsequent submission to General Maphwanya, the report has not been made public and neither was it tabled before the portfolio committee of Defence. The DA makes the submission that releasing the report is in the public interest because some of the victims of torture at the hands of rogue SANDF unit were civilians, whose cases have not been properly investigated and the perpetrators brought to book.

The DA is particularly concerned about the expose made by civil society organisation, Open Secrets, in which they highlight the existence of a military squad allegedly responsible for acts of torture and murder. This alleged rogue unit, comprising the Special Forces Brigade, the Military Police, Defence Intelligence and Defence Legal Services – are operating with impunity and have raised concerns of a large-scale criminal conspiracy within the SANDF. Open secrets further alleges that the activities of this rogue unit formed part of the Moorhouse board of inquiry.

The release of the Moorhouse investigation report will help to shed light on whether this rogue unit within the SANDF was in any way responsible for assassination of Hawks investigator, Frans Mathipa, who – at the time of his death, was conducting a criminal investigation into a Special Forces operative. In addition, the report will help to provide insight into the circumstances that led to the death of a civilian, Sphamandla, after hours of torture by some members of the rogue unit.

Democratic South Africa cannot afford to have a military that operates like a Gestapo force – assassinating, abducting and murdering citizens with impunity. All individuals implicated in these heinous crimes should be held accountable for their actions, and if found guilty, made to face the full wrath of the law.

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