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Media Statement: Commission of Inquiry on Strategic Defence Procurement Packages (RE: Commission’s Staff to take office next week)

On October 27, 2011 the President announced the details of the Commission of Inquiry into the Strategic Defence Procurement Packages (SDPP) to be led by Judge Seriti of the Supreme Court of Appeal. Subsequent to that announcement, work commenced in preparation for the sitting of the Commission. 

We would like to assure all South Africans that government is intent on ensuring that the Commission is able to execute its mandate in a secure and enabling environment that takes   accessibility and transparency into account.

Whilst we understand the urgency that attaches to this process, we would like to caution against consternation expressed. It is important to ensure that proper infrastructure and the support systems are in place given the projected lifespan of the Commission as well as the magnitude of the task that the Commission will undertake. The need to pay meticulous attention to necessary details cannot be emphasised enough. Preparations for this Inquiry require us to enquire into infrastructure aspects in a manner significantly different to how we have dealt with other Commissions of Inquiry.

We can reflect on at least three critical streams around which substantial headway has been made. These relate to the procurement of accommodation, furniture and office equipment as well as the appointment of staff.

Temporary accommodation has been secured. The location of the premises will be announced later this week after the Commissioners have had the opportunity to view the office premises.  These premises will serve as the interim seat of the Commission until the process of procuring a permanent office accommodation has been concluded. The Department of Public Works advertised a tender to this effect on 30 March 2012, inviting interested parties to submit their bid documents. The closing date is 17 April 2012 and permanent accommodation will soon thereafter be procured after the conclusion of the technical work on the suitability of the premises for the Commission.  

Parallel to the procurement of accommodation for the Commission, the Department is assisting the Commission with the appointment of support staff for the Commission. In this regard, some of the officials will be seconded to the Commission whilst others would be appointed, depending on the nature of the work to be performed.  Those who have already been appointed or seconded will take an oath of Office this week and they are expected to assume duty on Monday, 16 April 2012.

The third aspect relates to the procurement of furniture and related office equipment, necessary for the proper functioning of the Commission. We have already secured these items and they will be delivered to the premises during the course of this week provided the Commissioners are satisfied with the interim facilities we have identified.

The Commission will soon issue a comprehensive media statement which will among other things, provide information on the modes and methods through which information can be transmitted to the Commission.  The Commission will soon after it has completed its programme, announce a timetable for public hearings that will be conducted throughout the country at a later stage.

Enquiries: Tlali Tlali, Spokesperson, 082 3333 880

Issued by the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Development
11 April 2012