Brian Molefe, the controversial former chief executive officer of Eskom, has only had a short military career, but it has seemingly already been a distinguished one.
City Press’ sister publication, Rapport, has learnt that it’s not just Molefe’s appointment in the defence force that has raised eyebrows, but also the three medals he has been photographed wearing.
One of these medals is a gold Mandela Commemorative Medal, which was specifically designed and dedicated to honour members of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) who played a significant role in taking care of Nelson Mandela during his last days, or in planning and executing the former president’s state funeral in December 2013. The medal was issued in gold, silver and bronze.
Molefe is wearing the gold medal in a photo of the SA Irish Regiment, of which he is an honorary colonel.
He also wears the Unitas medal, which was awarded to non-statutory forces such as Umkhonto weSizwe and the Azanian People’s Liberation Army in 1994, when they were integrated into the new defence force.
Last week, City Press reported that Molefe was called up to the army three months ago to serve as a colonel, at a salary of R57 000 a month.
According to Molefe’s CV, he was an institutional specialist at the Development Bank of Southern Africa between 1994 and 1995. From 1991, Molefe worked for the ANC in Limpopo in an administrative capacity for a year.
Nowhere on his CV does it indicated that he served with Umkhonto weSizwe in any capacity. He was, however, a political activist in the 1980s.
Questions have also been asked about Molefe’s third medal, awarded for 10 years of loyal service.
In a statement released earlier this week, the SANDF said that Molefe was only appointed by the defence force as part of a “group of specialists” in November 2009.
When the photo of Molefe was taken at a commemorative ceremony of the SA Irish Regiment in November 2015, he could therefore only have been serving for five years.
In an earlier press statement on the subject, the defence force objected to the questions being asked about Molefe’s military appointment.
Defence force spokesperson Siphiwe Dlamini said the insinuations undermined the integrity of the defence force.
However, this week, Dlamini said that the defence force couldn’t reveal any information about its soldiers without their express permission.
Molefe referred all queries to the defence force. He also didn’t respond to a text message with questions alongside a photograph of the medals in question.
Another photograph shows Molefe wearing a Sam Browne shoulder strap the wrong way around.
Military expert Helmoed-Römer Heitman said the original purpose of the strap was to carry the weight of a soldier’s sword on the left side so that he could draw it from its scabbard with his right hand.
“I don’t believe the Irish Regiment wears the strap any different to anybody else,” he said.
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