Air force replaces Guptagate officers in annual list of appointments

2014-01-13 00:00

THE air force has transferred and replaced the two senior air force officers who were implicated in the landing of the Gupta wedding party at Water­kloof Air Force Base.

These are some of the changes announced on the army’s latest list of appointments and promotions.

This year’s annual list, however, only goes up to the rank of brigadier-general, with the appointments of major-generals and higher scheduled for the end of Jan­uary. Informed sources said this list of top officers may, however, be held back until after the elections, which will have an impact on the appointment of senior generals.

Brigadier-General Sam Madumane, who commanded the Waterkloof Air Force Base during the Gupta landing, has been transferred to the SANDF’s regulations and policy section. He had been on leave since the Gupta debacle while the air force pondered his career options.

The board of investigation into the Gupta landing found that he had shown a laissez-faire attitude to events on his post under his command and that he did not even bother to learn more about events.

Colonel Nomsa Khumalo of the foreign liaison section had lied during the investigation that she had handled three initial clearance requests for the Gupta flight. She has been charged with violating the air force’s code of conduct. In terms of the latest list, she had been posted on an unknown project.

Brigadier-General Sithabiso Mahlobo, who in 2002 was demoted after being found guilty of exam fraud, is the new attaché in Russia. Mahlobo and two senior officers were guilty of using each other’s answers.

During 2001, a special conflict team had to go and restore peace among the ranks of the South African army’s first peace deployment to the Democratic Republic of the Congo after Mahlobo had been embroiled in several tiffs with his underlings.

He was demoted briefly but has since progressed up the ranks.

Military expert Helmoed-Römer Heitman said the latest list of appointments and promotions is, in general, well thought through and positive.

“It seems as if most of the officers were appointed for what they can do, rather than what they can’t do,” said Heitman.

Several officers joined the unit that controls the army’s joint peace keeping deployment in foreign countries.

Brigadier-General Chris Gildenhuys is now director of operations and Brigadier-General Tersia Jacobs is director of support.

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