SA Military Academy and Defence College; Defence Bill: briefing

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Defence and Military Veterans

06 November 2001
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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

6 November 2001

Chairperson: Ms. Modise (ANC)

Relevant Documents:
SA Military Academy
SA Military Staff Paper
Defence College Briefing (See Appendix)
Defence Bill [B60-2001]

The SANDF Joint Training Division briefed the Committee on the SA Military Academy and Defence College. The Academy, which trains officers and the College, where the military education of those colonels who go on to the top command is completed, are the foundation of the SANDF.

The Committee discussed the Defence Bill The work of the Committee and Sub-committee, reviewing the Bill will continue this month. However, the bulk of work will take place at the beginning of 2002.

Briefing on Military Academy and Defence College
The South African Military Academy, which trains officers, affirmed its commitment to the representivity of previously disadvantaged groups and women. The Academy has a role in educating other African military personnel consistent with its position of continental leadership. Funding issues were discussed, particularly viz a viz accommodation in the small Saldanha community where the Academy is located, which has caused practical problems in terms of attracting quality staff. The Academy's remoteness from Pretoria has led to the creation of a pilot distance learning program involving 30 students and a qualified co-ordinator is being sought so that it may expand.

The Defence College provides a limited number slots to SADC and other African officers (whose governments pay their expenses). These officers benefit from the strategic training and precepts instilled in its South African students. It also strengthens international links and understanding between military leadership structures.

Brigadier General Bowie's spoke on the Youth Foundation Training Program (YFTP), which is designed to identify previously disadvantaged rural matric students whose test scores would benefit from upgraded instruction. The Program, which currently involves 165 pupils, plans to eventually expand to 500. It works towards upgrading these students' skills so that they are adequately prepared for sophisticated military technical, medical, pilot training, especially for those who do not go on to military training (at the Academy or elsewhere). And it leaves them better prepared to enter the private sector.

The Chair noted that the Department of Defence is making a valuable contribution to improving the national skills base.

Mr Morkel (NNP) questioned the extent of the Department's emphasis on "civic education" or the proper role of the military in a democratic system.

General Hurribunce, Chief of the SANDF Joint Training Division, stated that every program administered by the Joint Training Division includes and emphasises this component. This is done through the use of an approved text on the subject, and is continually monitored by the Department's Joint Training Commission. There are also other mechanisms addressing this issue within the larger Department, e.g., CMAC.

The Chair then noted that, in the Committee's estimation, CMAC has apparently become dysfunctional. She observed that the General's indication to the contrary was reassuring and welcomed the provision of more information on CMAC's current civic education monitoring activities prior to Parliament's Nov. 16 adjournment. Ms Chohan-Kota (ANC) concurred that civic education is a critical matter.

Mr Morkel asked if the College, as part of its strategic analysis exercises and research, had advised the government on the problematic situations in Zimbabwe and Lesotho. Gen Hurribunce replied that while the College has no direct national security responsibilities, it makes analysis and research available to Department officials, who may or may not submit it to Cabinet. He also noted, responding to the same member, that the Youth Foundation Training Programme (YFTP), in which the Education Department is co-operating, was not designed to replace general matric instruction (which the member had characterised as "worryingly inadequate", viz a viz rural students), but to supplement it.

Also responding to that member, Gen Molo confirmed that the Academy and its staff should conduct ongoing research.

An ANC member then commended the SANDF for awakening youths to opportunities through its outreach to rural communities. Hurribunce noted that, in the interest of furthering equity, recruitment and training, for highly skilled functions as well, have targeted previously disadvantaged rural areas. Projects like the YFTP would expand from current areas of focus, like the Northern and Northwest Provinces, to the Western Cape. However, it continues to be difficult to harmonise human resource policy with the available assets and bureaucratic structures, though significant progress is being made.

Mr Schalkwyk (DP) then inquired as to the extent of emphasis in the curricula on peacekeeping and project management training (PMT). Hurribunce stated that peacekeeping mission readiness is provided to the SANDF, though not directly by the Joint Training Division, but that PMT is part of the curricula at both the Academy and College, whose programs are influenced by the current White Paper on Defence.

Hurribunce affirmed that he was not requesting the Committee to take any legislative measures, and confirmed that any institutional research generated by the Academy and College would be made available to the Committee. However, he noted that the institutions could not necessarily be directly used as parliamentary research tools, e.g., by "commissioning" specific research.

Responding to Mr Ndlovu (IFP), Hurribunce went on to note that military unions cannot be stopped from conducting activities at the Academy and College, but that these activities have not been problematic thus far.

The Chair concluded that the issues, such as the maintenance of facilities, and improvement of their aesthetics in order to help market them to candidates as part efforts to upgrade the nation's skills, should be addressed as part of the Committee's 2002 agenda.

Defence Bill
The Chair noted that the work of the Committee and Sub-committee on a review of the Bill will continue this month. However, the bulk of work will take place at the beginning of 2002.

Clause 8, Delegation of Powers by Secretary for Defence
Mr Radebe (Department) indicated that it is possible to specify which of the Secretary's functions can and cannot be delegated. The Chair noted that the Sub-committee must consider such designation.

Clause 9, Departmental investigation by Secretary for Defence
Mr Ndlovu (IFP) questioned the procedure which applies when the Chief of Defence Force himself is being investigated, since the Chief is an integral part of the prescribed investigative procedure. Mr Radebe suggested that since "events", not "individuals", are the focus of Boards of Inquiry there was no problem.

Mr Ndlovu rejected this reasoning. Mr Radebe indicated that in such a situation the Minister would preside over an inquiry concerning the Chief, per Clause 96 of the Bill.

The Chair asked if the Bill provides that other Departments and agencies can be called on to aid investigations, for example into forensic accounting matters. Mr Radebe acknowledged that the Bill does not specifically refer to such a power.

There was a consensus among the Members that a specific reservation of such power is needed, despite Radebe's indication that a reference to such power is unnecessary.

Ms Chohan-Kota (ANC) suggested that the issue could be addressed by fine-tuning some of the Bill's definitions, and the Chair agreed that clarification of the investigative powers was not difficult to achieve, but it was necessary, notwithstanding the Department's opinion.

Clause 10, Composition of SANDF
Mr Radebe noted that this provision calls for 2 components, the respective "regular" and "reserve" forces.

Clause 11, Services of Defence Force, and structural components
No comments were made on this self-explanatory provision.

Clause 12, Chief of Defence Force
Mr Radebe noted that the Chief must be an South African citizen, and a member of the regular force, not the reserves.

A member asked whether the latter requirement was proper. Ms Chohan-Kota (ANC) and several other Members noted that it was necessary for continuity reasons. A lengthy discussion then ensued on the citizenship requirement, with Members generally endorsing it. Some Members wondered about the wisdom of allowing naturalised citizens, as opposed to natives, to serve in such position. On this point Radebe noted that any attempted discrimination arising from a restrictive interpretation or definition of "citizen" would likely cause constitutional problems.

Clause 13, Functions of Chief
There was consensus on the need for clarity that the exercise of the Chief's power is subject to the power of the Defence Minister.

The meeting was adjourned.






  1. The South African Defence College presents the highest level of training offered by the South African National Defence Force. This training is offered in the form of the Executive National Security Programme twice per year at the South African Defence College, Thaba Tshwane.
  2. In order to ensure that the role, functions and outputs of the SADC are understood and transparent, it is necessary that they be presented to the parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence.
  3. AIM

  4. The aim of this staff paper is to present the current status of the SADC to the Portfolio Committee on Defence.
  5. SCOPE

  6. The Staff paper will cover the following aspects:
    1. History of the SADC.
    2. Mandate.
    3. Core Business.
    4. Fields of Study.
    5. Outputs.
    6. Throughputs.
    7. Factors that address quality assurance.
    8. Evaluation.
    9. Issues on the horizon.


  7. The SADC was founded in 1972. The purpose of the SADC was to provide the highest level of military training available in the SADF at that time. Course content concentrated on the military strategic level, involved limited participation by other departments concerned with security such as Intelligence, Police and Prison Services and was aimed primarily at the senior colonel level (deputy director) in order to prepare them for promotion to Brigadier.
  8. The initial aim of the SADC was:
  9. "To prepare officers for senior command and staff posts by means of the study of advanced military management, joint operations and relevant aspects of national and international security against a background of functional strategy".

  10. Between 1972 and 1999 the SADC conducted 42 Joint Staff Courses and 18 Special Joint Staff Courses.
  11. As part of the transformation of the new SANDF, the Executive National Security Programme replaced the old Joint Staff Course. This was based principally on the realisation that national security was a matter for everybody and not restricted to those old members of the ‘security club’. In the course of investigation the best description of what the SA Defence College should achieve was found in the Indian Armed Forces Joint Staff Course curriculum.
  12. "The security of a modern state depends mainly on how effectively it can harness its resources for the task. All departments of the administrative machinery have to be geared and directed to one goal – the achievement of national interest. This may be easy in a totalitarian state. In a democracy, however, it can only be done with the mutual understanding between the civil service and the armed forces. The senior civil service officer must know the capabilities of defence and the working of the armed forces.

    Likewise, the senior military officer, on his part, has to understand the viewpoint of the civil service officer and, know the limitations and strengths, under which he functions. Both have to be aware of the problems of security in its larger perspectives, the challenges and limitations of geography, international politics, as also the interplay of economics and defence."

  13. The new ENSP has been broadened to include both wider representation from other state departments and from foreign armed forces. Further, the level has been raised to the national strategic level.

  15. The mandate of the SADC today is:
  16. "To prepare selected officers and officials for top-level appointments in the SANDF and at national level."

  17. In order to achieve its mandate, the SA Defence College undertakes studies in all aspects of national security of the RSA and including relevant aspects of national security.
  18. Identified tasks of the SA Defence College are:
    1. Preparation and presentation of the Executive National Security Programme.
    2. Research and study pertaining to inter-service and inter-departmental co-operation in the field of national Security Policy.
    3. Providing a platform for discussion and symposia.
    4. Promoting co-operation between the SANDF and other government departments.


  19. The core business of the SA Defence College is to present the Executive National Security Programme (ENSP).
  20. The ENSP’s aim is to develop the programme members across the full spectrum of national security.
  21. The objectives to be achieved are:
    1. Develop selected members in planning and management of national security policy and strategies.
    2. Establish a deeper appreciation of the national security related aspirations and concern of the SADC countries.
    3. Improve co-ordination of the execution and implementation of national security policy and strategies.
    4. Analyse security issues facing other countries that may possibly affect the RSA strategic interests.
    5. Confirm internal and external trends, which may influence national security policy.
    6. Ensure understanding of defence policy as part of national security policy.
    7. Develop and deepen the conceptual, managerial and theoretical competencies of programme members’ ability to operate strategically in complex environments.
    8. Explore civil-military relations, international law and relations, strategic change management and regional security in order to enhance the development of a common security.
    9. Integrate democratic perspectives on national security issues.


  22. The programme is based on 4 fields of study.
  23. Field 1: National Security Theory. This study field covers the following:
    1. National Security
    2. Strategy
    3. Conflict
  24. Field 2: The RSA and it’s Domestic Affairs. Analysis of the RSA’s national capability and domestic issues produces some of the trends and issues that are critical to national security. This includes the following factors:
    1. The functioning of the State.
    2. Manpower and human resources.
    3. Economy and infrastructure.
    4. The domestic potential for conflict.
  25. Field 3: The RSA’s Strategic Neighbourhood. An analysis of the external factors produces some of the trends and issues that are essential to national security. This includes the following factors:
    1. Regional and collective security.
    2. Economy and infrastructural issues.
    3. The potential for conflict in Africa and the Region.
  26. Field 4: Global Trends. Global trends and issues that may affect the security of the Region and Africa. This field of study includes a visit to a foreign country.

  28. As its output the SA Defence College strives to produce officers and officials capable of the following:
    1. Able to analyse the States’ Management and decision making processes in order to determine how critical issues influencing the RSA’s national security can be accommodated in Government Policy.
    2. Able to apply, as part of a multi-disciplinary planning group, a strategic planning process comprising the following steps:
      1. Analysis of the RSA’s domestic and external environments.
      2. Synthesis of the conclusions to provide guidelines for national security policy.
      3. Formulation of national security and defence policy and strategies for the RSA.
    3. Able to interpret and manage national security policy and strategies in line or staff posts at departmental level.
  29. On completion of the programme, graduates are eligible to become members of the SA Defence College Association. This association was established principally to allow members the opportunity to stay abreast of developments in the national security environment and to retain contact with the SA Defence College. Contact is maintained with graduates through the distribution of the "Forum" in which are published the best of the Commandant’s Research Papers produced by each programme.

  31. The SA Defence College aims to produce 72 graduates per year. By design this should include 36 members from DOD and 36 others. Actual through put is 72 on average but the ratio is skewed towards DOD members. Current average is about 70% DOD and 30% others.
  32. This through put ratio is under review and may be adjusted to match actual experienced through put.
  33. However, ideally representation from outside the DOD should include members from the Departments of Foreign Affairs, Finance, Trade and Industry, Safety and Security, Health, National Intelligence Agency and foreign armed forces. All have important inputs, which will improve overall quality of the programme and add wider exposure to the majority DOD programme member’s perspectives and outlooks.

  35. The ENSP is continuously re-evaluated on to relevance and curriculum content. Suggested inputs are generated by the various lecturers and presenters, by the Commandant and Directing Staff and by the programme members themselves. Any proposed changes to content or procedure are presented to the SA Defence College Advisory Board for approval before implementation.
  36. By means of the above the quality of the programme material is maintained at as relevant and topical a standard as possible.

  38. The ENSP is a developmental programme and as such there is no formal pass of fail criteria.
  39. However Directing Staff observe programme members throughout in order to provide guidance and advice to improve performance. This observation includes auditorium activities, syndicate presentation contributions and evaluation of a Commandant’s Research Paper. The Commandant and Directing Staff give personal feedback to programme members on a continuous basis throughout the programme. On completion of the programme each member receives a qualification course report.

  41. Learner Body. As discussed above design parameters and actual attendance differ in respect of ratio between DOD and other members. This is in the process of re-evaluation.
  42. Countries for Study Tours. Destinations for programme study tours are not at present pre-selected. It is considered that these study tours can be used very effectively to support national and defence foreign initiatives and already signed Defence Memorandums of Understanding. This matter is receiving attention at DOD Foreign Relations level.
  43. Possible Name Change. Use of the approved acronym of SADC on the SA Defence College clashed with that of the Southern African Development Community. International norms indicate that the word national is regularly used to describe an institution of this level. Proposals are being prepared to officially change the name to the South African National Defence College with acronym of SANDC.
  44. Non DOD Participation. At present the DOD has not had great success in getting active participation by other state departments in the programme. The international norms indicate that civilian participation raises the level of the programme and benefits the respective departments subsequently. This apparent lack of interest will be addressed by an active marketing plan in the new year to increase civilian participation in the programme.

  46. The ENSP provides a program at the national strategic level which has as its ‘golden thread’ running throughout the RSA’s national security interest and challenges. This "golden thread" runs throughout the programme and is the base on which all lectures, discussions, activities and visits are scheduled.
  47. We believe that the SA Defence College provides an excellent vehicle to improve inter-departmental co-operation and understanding. It also offers a venue where the country’s vital concerns in terms of national security policy and strategies can be addressed and from which real proposals for innovative solutions can be produced.





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