The Committee as well as the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans met jointly to plan and deliberate on their oversight and study tour options for the year. Members debated on the merits of the study tours and considered visiting the Democratic Republic of Congo, Australia and Vietnam. The consensus was to send all the options as drafted and to form sub-committees so that the trips could happen simultaneously. In order to save costs and time some Members would be in the DRC and others in Australia. The proposed programme was adopted with amendments.
Mr Mlambo said it would help to have the National Council of Provinces programme, to align it to that of the National Assembly.
Mr D Maynier (DA) said the visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) should be prioritised this year as the operations there were very important. The full committee did not need to go but a small sub-committee could be taken there. The VIP section of Defence should be included, as there was a scandal in relation to the President’s recent trip to Russia.
Ms L Dlamini (ANC) asked why it was a priority for the Committee to go to the DRC.
Mr D Gamede (ANC) supported the issue raised by Mr Maynier, given South Africa’s involvement in that country. It was within our region and made sense as the operations there were very important. A sub-committee could cover this trip.
Mr Maynier responded that this case was unique because the South African Defence Force (SADF) was operating under the mission of the African Union. It was doing a crucial job that should be given oversight
Mr S Esau (DA) commented that military hospitals are not all included, such as Military 1. These investigations and follow-ups were crucial for the work of the Committee; and the recommendations of the Military Defence Commission must be taken into serious consideration.
The Chairperson asked if there was need for physical oversight prior to the report. The committee must go; the report is not sufficient to gain accurate oversight. Should the Committee still go to the Defence Headquarters at Armscor?
Mr Gamede said the Committee must take the priorities seriously because time was against it.
Mr Maynier commented that the visit of the Armscor would be of little value to the committee.
The Chairperson requested the Committee to adopt the proposed programmes with amendments to it, bearing in mind that the committee has never been on a study tour before.
Mr Mlambo suggested the Committee look at Vietnam or Algeria on issues of military veterans, and choose one of those countries
Mr Esau mentioned that it would be good for country development and because of their economic constraints; a country such as Algeria should be favourable.
Mr Maynier indicated that those countries are remote to South Africa’s expertise; there must be more motivation.
Mr Gamede said Algeria had best practice in Africa in terms of military veterans, and suggested the Committee split the Members to different countries
Mr Mlambo stated that the historical background of Vietnam and Algeria was similar to ours because they are also developing countries and should be able to share incredible expertise on relevant issues
Mr Maynier said based on the Australian Defence model, a lot could be learnt from what Australia have achieved and not achieved.
The Chairperson indicated that Vietnam, Algeria or Australia visits are for the same purpose, but it will help to see the approach of other countries as well in the near future. The researchers would prioritise.
The proposed programme was adopted with amendments.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting
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