PAIA |National Orders
On 24 April 2023 Open Secrets submitted a PAIA request to the Presidency asking for any documentation on how and why Duma Ndlovu and Michael Horn nominations were accepted to receive the National Order Award. Both Michael Horn and Duma Ndlovu have had controversy surrounding them. Duma Ndlovu is allegedly implicated in state capture while Michael Horn was a member of 101 Battalion, an infamous elite Apartheid Military unit.
The Presidency responds: On 4 July 2023 Open Secrets received a response from the Presidency, after accepting a request for extension. In their response the Presidency provided only 6 documents, indicating that protection of third party information prevented them from handing over more.
It is therefore still unclear exactly how and why these nominations were accepted and whether there was a rigorous evaluation of these nominations including an independent assessment by the Presidency. What the limited documentation does show is that the National Orders Advisory Council, tasked with evaluating public nominations, decided that successful nominees must have displayed ‘integrity, courage, exceptionalism, and ubuntu’. This calls into question why the Advisory Council and subsequently the President felt that Duma Ndlovu and Michael Horn were eligible to receive South Africa’s highest award.
Subsequent to the submission of these PAIA requests and other concerns raised by civil society organisations the Presidency withdrew the awards to both individuals. Open Secrets welcomes this decision.