Parliamentary Portfolio Committee of Defence and Military Veterans chairperson Cyril Xaba has welcomed the appointment of Gladys Sonto Kudjoe as the new Secretary for Defence. She is the first woman to hold this post, which is the senior civilian public service position within the Department of Defence.
“As the country commemorates women’s month, we welcome the appointment of Ms Kudjoe in this highly crucial position and we believe that her experience, strength and vast knowledge of the defence industry will contribute to bringing the much-needed stability to the department,” affirmed Xaba. “We realise the enormous task ahead and the myriad of challenges facing the department and thus we wish her well in her new role.”
During her career in the public service, Kudjoe held several positions in the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, including being ambassador to Egypt from 2006 to 2010. In 2013 she became the first woman to head the State Security Agency. Her latest appointment illustrated the continuing empowerment of women in the defence sector, affirmed Xaba.
The committee chairperson also praised outgoing Secretary for Defence Dr Sam Gulube. “On behalf of the committee, I wish to thank Dr Gulube for his service to the country and wish him well in his much deserved retirement,” said Xaba.
Gulube had originally served in the South African National Defence Force, in the South African Military Health Services, as a medical doctor. As Secretary for Defence he would be especially remembered for his contributions to the country’s defence industrial strategy and to the broad-based black economic empowerment code for the defence sector, highlighted Xaba. Gulube also played a critical role in the drafting of the 2015 Defence Review.