Defense Review Committee Media Release


29 Aug 2011


Media Release

Work of the Defence Review Committee


Released by:

Mr Roelf Meyer, Chairperson

30 August 2011


The Defence Review Committee has organised itself into two components, namely that of a strategic direction group and that of a resource group. The committee is further supported by a Secretariat provided by the Department of Defence and specific liaison points have been established with the Office of the Secretary for Defence and the Office of the Chief of the SANDF.

The Terms of Reference provided by the Minister requires us to have a “mandate driven” perspective. The Defence Mandate is clearly articulated in the 1996 Constitution as, being the only lawful military force in the Republic, the protection and defence of the Republic, its sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interests and people, in accordance with the Constitution and the principles of international law regulating the use of force. Defence functions are further defined in the 1993 Interim Constitution and the Defence Act, 2002. Various other Constitutional prescripts also inform the mandate.

Clearly, one of our first tasks will be the development of an understanding of the nexus between National Security, Foreign Policy and Defence Policy. At the international level, security objectives include the defence of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of the South African state, and the promotion of regional and continental security in Southern Africa. South Africa accords central importance to the region and the continent; working with countries of the South to address shared challenges of underdevelopment; poverty, promoting global equity and social justice; working with countries of the North to develop an effective partnership for a better world; and strengthening the multilateral system.  The struggle for a better life in South Africa is intertwined with the pursuit of a better Africa in a better world. Regional and continental integration is the foundation for Africa’s socio-economic development and political unity, and essential for South Africa’s prosperity and security. Consequently, Africa is at the centre of South Africa’s foreign and security policy. South Africa must therefore continue to support regional and continental processes to respond to and resolve crises, strengthen regional integration, significantly increase intra-African trade, and champion sustainable development and opportunities in Africa.


The Minister further requires us to have both a “short and long term focus”. The short term we understand to be the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and the Long-Term we understand to be the period after 2030. The Defence Review Committee is thus committed to achieving a broad, cross cutting and independent perspective of the future growth trajectory of the SANDF and to map out a path to achieve these objectives. Of course we cannot commence this work completely tabular rasa (blank slate) and we will engage the strategic planning already undertaken by the Defence Force and take this planning on board where it is appropriate to do so.

We have identified a number of key stakeholders to the Defence Review and have been engaging with them in the last number of weeks and will continue to do so in the next weeks. These include:

·       National Planning Commission.

·       Presidential Commission on State Owned Enterprises

·       DIRCO.

·       State Security and NICOC

·       SAPS

·       SARS (Customs, Border Management, Arms Transfers, NCACC interface)

·       DOHA

·       COGTA

·       Armscor

·       CSIR (DefenceTek).

·       South African Defence Industry

·       The Department of Military Veterans & the SANMVA

·       Reserve Force Council


In the last number of weeks we have started extensively engagement with the various Services and Divisions in the SANDF to obtain an understanding of their strategic intent and the challenges that face them. This we have coupled with visits to specific units across the SANDF to understand the grass roots issues facing the Defence Force. There are a number of reoccurring themes that have come through in our engagement with the many units we have visited across the country. Notwithstanding the common challenges that are evident, we have been most heartened by the qualities of the young leaders that are coming up through the junior and middle ranks of the SANDF. The calibre of the young officers we have met in our travels has been most heartening indeed and we can attest to their professional enthusiasm.

We are also giving attention to the current operational deployments of the SANDF. To this end we recently visited units conducting border safeguarding operations in the Lesotho/Free State Area. Later this week we will be visiting the border safeguarding deployments in the Mussina area. In September we will be visiting the SANDF deployments in the DRC and Sudan and we have are also planning a specific engagement with both the SADC Secretariat and the AU Commission to obtain an understanding of the regional and continental expectations of the SANDF.

We will also be working with broader society to draw on the best possible expertise and shape the consensus on the future trajectory of the SANDF across our key partners and stakeholders. Later this year we will construct a programme to engage in extensive consultations with civil society on the future defence policy. Some of the organisations we will pursue and engagement with may include:

·       Political parties & organisations

·       Provincial level Imbizo

·       Corporate Business

·       Unions

·       Youth organisations

·       Religious bodies

·       Academia, research organisations & NGOs

·       Defence Attaché Corps

·       International Organisations


The Defence Review will in essence pronounce on the long-term Defence Policy of South Africa, provide guidelines for the defence objectives and functions of SANDF, its strategic posture, defence capabilities, defence alliances, and security institutions or mechanisms (both national and international) that will govern the operations of the defence force.

One our primary deliverables will be to provide the policy context for defence, including the policy philosophy and rationale for the future force. This will be cascaded to the future defence posture, strategic concepts and guidelines for the future Defence Force, including indications related to key defence tenets and strategic capabilities.

The Defence Review will  identify priorities and different options for critical decisions on issues such as defence personnel and capability programs within budgetary constraints and on the basis of the impact they will have on the overall national development of the country.

In essence, the Defence Review will define the strategic intent of government regarding the defence, including the utilisation of the defence force.



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