Whites get top jobs in army

Eric Naki

A memorandum leaked to Sowetan highlights allegations of racism in the appointment of senior officers in the SA National Defence Force.

The hard-hitting document making the claims is dated July 15 and was written by the late secretary for defence January Masilela, pictured , a month before he died.

Masilela was especially concerned about the lack of transformation in the defence materiel division, where he said 85 percent of level 12 posts (deputy directors) were filled by whites.

In a confidential memorandum to A Visser, chief of defence materiel, Masilela rapped the officer over the knuckles for the lack of transformation progress.

"I observe with concern that all five director (level 13) positions are occupied by white males," Masilela said.

"It is even more concerning that the average age profile of the above incumbents is above 50 years and no clear and demographically representative succession plan has been put in place."

In the memo Masilela said that 85 percent of level 12 posts in the division were occupied by whites.

"It is my understanding that since your appointment as chief of defence materiel you have made less than six appointments, including reserve force call-ups. All the incumbent appointed are white."

He expressed anger after Visser employed a white incumbent in the post of chief director despite their earlier conversation about the need for racial transformation. He said Visser's recent appointments in the division perpetuated an "unacceptable trend" to hire whites.

Defence department spokesmen Sam Mkhwanazi said the document was an internal correspondence between Masilela and Visser.

Masilela, a former Umkhonto we Sizwe cadre, died in a car accident in Mpumalanga last month. As defence director-general Masilela was credited with pursuing transformation and for promoting former MK and Apla members to senior posts.