The Chairperson presented two goals for the Committee meeting: to adopt outstanding minutes and to adopt the draft programme for the fourth term. After agreement that there had not been enough time to review the minutes prior to the Committee meeting, it was decided to review and adopt the minutes the following day.
A Member expressed concern that the draft programme only dedicated one day to reviewing the Annual Report, which was not adequate. He further asserted that members from the Defence Force should present themselves before the Committee, and that the Committee should exert more oversight over these officials. He highlighted that the Committee was part of what was wrong with the Defence Force Other members disagreed him and said that officials would be called to appear before the Committee if it is necessary and that the Committee could not be held responsible for the problems plaguing the defence force. The Committee approved the programme.
The Chairperson stated that there were two items on the agenda. The first of these items was the adoption of all outstanding minutes. The second item was the adoption of the programme for the fourth term.
Mr D Maynier (DA) interjected stating that he had not received the minutes in hard copy before this meeting. He felt that he could not make the decision to approve the minutes.
Ms Mandy Balie, Committee Secretary, stated that she had sent the minutes’ yesterday morning to all Members.
Mr Maynier insisted that he had not received the minutes the previous day.
The Chairperson suggested that the Committee review the minutes the following day and that all corrections should be forwarded to the Committee Secretary ahead of the meeting so that they can be incorporated. The Committee adopted the
Fourth Term Committee Programme
The Chairperson tabled the programme for consideration. He added that the Committee would review it page-by-page.
Mr Maynier noted that the Committee was scheduled to consider the Department’s 2010/2011 Annual Report on 18 October 2011. He argued that it was not feasible for the Committee to go over Report in one day. Instead, he proposed that the Secretary of Defence and her team brief the Committee on the Annual Report and thereafter there should be one hearing per programme. He stressed that this was the only way to deal with the Annual Report thoroughly. Once the hearing per programme was completed, there should be one final hearing with the Minister of Defence.
Ms P Daniels (ANC) replied that in fact two days had been set aside to review both the Budget Review and Recommendation Report and the Department’s Annual Report. She added that before the Committee invited officials from the Department, it needed to better organise itself first.
Mr Maynier advised the Committee to look at the processes followed if it wanted to carry out its constitutional functions successfully, then the Committee must look at the process. Secondly, he expressed his concern about the lack of proper oversight of the defence force. In his view, the defence force was not held accountable for its actions.
Mr E Mlambo (ANC) acknowledged the constitutional responsibilities that the Committee was tasked with.
Ms Daniels suggested the Committee refocus its conversation toward issues surrounding the budget.
Mr Maynier stated that he wanted to make a final point pertaining to the Annual Report. He stressed that the relevant officials should be present during the hearings of the Committee. There was no reason why the Chief of the Defence Force and other heads of service should not appear before the Committee. He failed to understand why, for the past two and half years, the Committee had done everything possible to make sure that members from the Defence Force should not appear before it. The Committee should try to achieve the opposite. The Committee was part of what was wrong with the Defence Force. He suggested that the solution was to hold the Defence Force more accountable for their actions.
Mr L Diale (ANC) disagreed with the view that the Committee was the behind the current problems affecting the Defence Force.
The Chairperson echoed the sentiment expressed by Mr Diale.
Mr Mlambo accepted Mr Maynier’s concerns, but argued that members from the Defence Force should only attend the Committee’s meetings when there was a need for them.
The Chairperson clarified that the Committee did not say that it did not want the Chief of the Army to be in attendance when the presentations were made. The Chairperson asked if the Committee could move on to page three of the programme.
Mr Maynier referred to the meeting proposed for 26 October 2011- Briefing on National Youth Service concept. He stated that for this meeting to be productive, the Committee should receive a document from a pilot project that had assessed the effectiveness of the Department on National Youth Service.
The Chairperson suggested the Committee review pages four, five, and six of the programme.
Mr Maynier stated that he wanted to make an overall point about the division of labour between the joint and standing committees. He stated that the Department of Defence was currently undergoing the most important change of the last decade and stressed that the Committee should be properly briefed about the changes that would be occurring in the next six to twelve months.
The Chairperson stated that this issue would be discussed in more depth in the future.
The Committee eventually decided to adopt the programme.
The meeting was adjourned.
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