The Secretary of Defence and Military Veterans explained the significant achievements of the program so far, as well as the financial performance up to June 30 2015. He went through DOD's performance on its targets and noted which were high risk (major action is required), moderate risk (remedial/corrective action required) and low risk / on course (no major action is required. Members asked questions about late payments and under expenditure and also the unrealistic target scores it gave itself for various performance indicators.
Mr Sam Gulube, Secretary of Defence and Military Veterans, briefed the Committee on the Department of Defence (DOD) 1st quarterly performance. Significant achievements included:
- The Secretary for Defence provided strategic direction to the DOD on timeous decision-making on strategic matters, effective management and processing of documents, attendance of Director Generals meeting and chairing of DOD command bodies meetings.
- The Chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) ensured the preparation and employment of forces in pursuance of set missions.
- SANDF continuous to play a key role in Government’s support for peace, security and stability in the region and the continent.
- All legislative reports were submitted on time.
- Extensive legal negotiation support was provided in cooperation with international, regional, and sub- regional organisations (United Nations, The African Union and the Southern African Development Community), as well as foreign armed forces (IBSAMAR and ATLASUR) with Brazil and India.
- The first of two harbour tug boats for the SA Navy was completed and delivered to Simon’s Town during the first week of July 2015. Construction of the second tug boat is progressing very well with delivery expected early in 2016.
- The Defence International Affairs Division has managed to render policy, advice to the DOD where applicable and was instrumental in convening bilateral staff talks and participated in multilateral defence and security fora, as well as negotiated bilateral defence co- operation agreements with other states.
- The DOD support to the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (DRDLR) was successfully coordinated during the first National Youth Service intake (1/2015). A total of 574 youth participants completed the Youth Leadership Development Programme.
- Operation THUSANO: A contract to provide professional and technical services by the Cuban Defence Force to the SANDF was signed by C SANDF. The scope of the service will include training of technicians in the disciplines of transport techniques, technical assistance with the organization of the system of technical security, the deactivation of war material, preservation of war material and repair, and maintenance services of transport technology.
- The collaborative project between the RSA and Cuba (Operation THUSANO), has increased the service- ability of B- vehicles and medical equipment. The refurbishment of 20 of the Samil 20 ambulance fleet was completed and will increase the readiness levels for Operation CORONA.
- The South African Military Health Service (SAMHS) initiated several projects to contribute to the building of military communities and the empowerment of women.
- In terms of financial performance, as of June 30 2015, DOD has spent 21.2% (R9.442398 billion) against the approved planned expenditure of 21.8% (R9.739 billion) of a total budget of R44.579390 billion resulting in an under expenditure of R296.4 million. Factors that contributed to the underexpenditure were:
- Under expenditure of R168.334 million due to the outstanding advance payment to the South African Air Force (SAAF) for the upkeep of the C130 aircraft and the delay in the implementation of projected annual salary increases for FY 2015/16 as from 01 April 2015.
- The over expenditure of R10.8 million due to accrual payments from FY 2014/15.
- The over expenditure of R0.1 million due to transactions that create or increase outstanding debtors’ amounts, as well as foreign exchange losses, thefts and other losses.
Mr J Skosana (ANC) thanked DOD for the comprehensive presentation and said there is hope for the programmes as they have been run according to plan. He commented on the under expenditure and called the DOD to try to be persistent with its budget expenditure in order to achieve great results.
Mr S Marais (DA) was concerned with the late payments shown on slide 31 of the presentation. Late payments are unacceptable and the DOD cannot blame the Department of Public Works for delays on the invoice. How is the DOD planning to ensure the 30 days' payment, especially when dealing with small enterprises that rely on those payments to avoid going out of business? On slide 19, he said that the number of finalised disciplinary cases (5 out of 39) is too low and needs more attention. On slide 21, he asked for input on the 0% marked as the percentage of cases of corruption and fraud. He insisted that 0% does not sound right - as it is too good to be true. On slide 32, he asked if the figures were realistic, as a 100% effectiveness on border control and force employment sounds too good to be true as well. On slide 35, the achievements on Military Health Support meaning "hospitals, availability of medical stock and all else" is simply too low. The percentages need more attention and effective solutions to overcome the low numbers.
Mr L Mbinda (PAC) referred to the under expenditure, and asked if DOD thinks it will complete its funds by the end of this year's programme.
Mr B Bongo (ANC) said that late payments are an issue and that the DOD needs to work on that. In regards to Operation THUSANO and the collaboration with the Cubans, he said that the collaboration looks promising for both sides.
Mr D Gamede (ANC) asked if the health facilities were in optimal condition. He asked if the report was being honest and realistic about the actual situation. He called on the DOD to finish the Defence Review and update the Committee as it is about time to have that discussion.
Mr Gulube replied that corruption and fraud cases are supremely important to the DOD, the 0% showing in the presentation might just mean that no data was collected on that matter. In terms of the 30 days payment, he clarified that the Department of Public Works does not have any responsibility for the late payments. He promised to take a deeper look at the issue, and address this the best he can to avoid this situation as it is a major problem. In regards to the Military Health Support, he said that they provide standard care. More work needs to be done in order to improve health services and infrastructure. Some renovations are currently taking place plus the partnership with Cuba is essential in learning how to maintain and repair medical equipment instead of buying new equipment.
The Chief of the SA Army, Lieutenant-General Vusi Masondo, addressed the question of the disciplinary cases and said that the number of cases they have finalised is linked to the complexity of the cases. He explained that the target number that is shown is based on historical data. Thus, the reason they have not been able to address more cases is due to the complex nature of the problem as it demands more time for these to be resolved and finalised.
The Chairperson thanked DOD for the presentation and the clarifications.
The meeting was adjourned.
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