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PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE
12 October 2004
DEFENCE REVIEW: DEPARTMENT BRIEFING
Chairperson: Professor K Asmal (ANC)
Document handed out:
White Paper and Defence Review
Adjusted Defence Review: Required Results
Committee Revised Programme (Awaited)
The Department made a presentation on the adjusted Defence Review that outlined its vision to 2014, as well as its expectations and challenges. The Committee observed that the issue of human security in the region in the 21st century should have been the central focus of the Review. The Department was asked to provide the Committee with an updated version of their draft report and to create an Ombudsperson to handle conflict and diversity issues.
Mr N Sendall (Chief Director of Defence Policy) gave a PowerPoint presentation that outlined the Department's Defence vision up to 2014. His presentation considered three key issues namely: new security threats facing the region, the changed nature of the strategic environment, and defence diplomacy as a means of collective security building. These key issues were divided up into six chapters and would form a Defence Draft report that would be delivered to the Committee on completion. Mr J Grundling (Chief Financial Officer in the Department of Defence) made a brief report on the financial results required from the adjusted defence review. See attached Documents.
The Chairperson noted the need for an Ombudsperson in the Department to deal with issues relating to pensions, salaries and delays which had engendered a great deal of alienation and conflict because of the bureaucracy involved. The Ombudsperson would be someone who understood the needs and problems of the SANDF and had the authority to address them. Part of his / her duty would relate to issues of discrimination, abuse of power, racism and integration. She / he would also ensure that discipline was maintained, and that grievances were addressed efficiently and effectively in the SANDF.
Mr M Sayedali-Shah (DA) was concerned with how the change in the strategic environment of the SANDF influenced the issue of human security in the region.
Mr S Ntuli (ANC) wondered what would be the role of the Defence Force in a democracy and how this merged with the issue of incorporation with other regional forces.
Mr G Koornhof (ANC) sought clarification on why the Department chose to plan for a ten-year period rather than a longer period of about twenty to thirty years.
Mr O Monareng (ANC) pointed out the omission of a section dealing with definition and acronyms in the Department's presentation. He also noted the omission of outstanding issues relating to rejuvenation strategies and representivity in terms of racial composition.
The Chairperson observed that the Department should have rather focused on the issue of human security in the 21st century in their presentation. He noted that Chapter Four of the draft report made no mention of the Minister who was constitutionally responsible for decision-making. He also wondered what was the meaning of Social Contract and the identities of the contractors in the second report. Lastly, he said that there was apparently little innovation and creativity in the Department to the extent that its exit mechanism was inefficient.
Mr J Masileva (Defence Secretary) welcomed the Chairperson's comments on the forword to the Draft Report and promised to rectify the omission promptly. He also concurred with the Chairperson that the vision of the Department should be on human security in the 21st century. He, however, observed that although the Department needed to take creativity seriously, it had not been totally unimaginative. The Department had been self-reliant and innovative with respect to mechanical repairs. It has trained its own staff mechanics that maintained the cars and in Namibia, the SANDF had also built a small plant for stockpiling small arms ammunition.
As regards the force's exit structure, he pointed out that the Department only kept the leadership core group while it ensured that the rest of the force had acquired some life skills before their exit from service.
He also responded that defence strategies were usually planned for long term duration of between twenty to thirty years but defence reviews were done periodically after every five or ten years.
Mr Grundling responded that the term "Social Contract" as used in his presentation referred to the issue of consensus among stakeholders and interest groups. He, however, noted the Chairperson's comment positively.
Mr Sayedali-Shah proposed that the new Defence review should also address the question of recruitment of young people into active service.
The Chairperson thanked the Department delegation and asked that they make available to the Committee an updated version of their report promptly. He announced that owing to some duty of state he would not be available for next week's meeting. He had delegated Mr Koornhof to chair that meeting.
The meeting was adjourned.
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