A defence force project meant to give jobless matriculants a foot in the door has degenerated into a job creation project for the children of defence force generals.
An article in City Press’ sister newspaper Rapport says the children of at least seven generals and a senior department of defence official are employed in an office where they are trying to codify all defence force equipment according to the same standard.
Three years ago a decision was taken to target about 300 “worthy and qualified” unemployed matriculants for employment in the project.
But it now appears that you are far more likely to be considered “worthy” if your father, mother or another family member also happens to be a general or an officer.
Some of the generals’ children, who have no qualification other than matric, were appointed on post-level seven and eight – the same level as qualified staff sergeants and lieutenants.
As such, they earn about R23 400 a month.
Rapport has learnt that three of the children who were appointed are those of a deceased general and another two were those of his successor (who was recently replaced).
The posts for these short-term contracts were not advertised and allegations that bribes were paid for the jobs have also surfaced.
The project is causing unhappiness within the defence force because the generals’ children are said to be poorly disciplined and will not listen to anybody.
When they are reprimanded, their parents intervene.
Supervisors complained to Rapport about the intolerable and unfair pressure they have been placed under to achieve project goals, while simultaneously having to deal with “ungovernable” youngsters, who regularly arrive late for work, if at all.
Documents seen by the newspaper say the seven generals’ children and the daughter of a ministerial official are reprimanded on almost a daily basis because they either arrive late or don’t show up.
The attendance register for January shows that three of the generals’ children were not at work for half of the month. A fourth arrived for only one and a half weeks. One of them was absent or late for seven of the 18 working days in April.
But, despite this, there has been a request that their contracts be extended because of the “critical task” they have of getting the defence force’s codification system up to Nato standards.
The defence force has been busy with this project for years, because its system that controls the issuing of equipment dates back to 1979.
Brigadier-General Mafi Mgobozi, defence force spokesperson, said the defence force is not aware of any allegations of bribery for posts.
“If there are such incidents, they must be reported to the responsible senior officers.”
But Mgobozi did not deny the appointment of the children of generals.
He also did not confirm or deny whether there was an investigation into the “scheme”.
“The defence force has proper systems in place to address poor discipline in the workplace and to take corrective steps.
“The department of defence condemns any form of corruption and requires the same high standard of discipline of its solders at all ranks.”