Core Force Report-Back / Defence Review: Chapter 12: Defence Land & Environment Issues

Defence

15 March 1998
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Meeting report

JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE

JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE

16 March 1998

CORE FORCE REPORT-BACK / DEFENCE REVIEW: CHAPTER 12: DEFENCE LAND & ENVIRONMENT ISSUES

Document handed out: Defence Review Chapter 12: Defence Land & Environment Issues (4 March 1998 draft)

Rocky Williams estimates that the Defence Review process should end between mid-April and mid-May. He proposes that a chapter on legal issues should be incorporated into the Review to which the Committee chairperson had no objection.

The committee heard from Brigadier le Roux that the Force Design: Option 2 as approved by Parliament will not be attainable because of the Budget allocations. The Core Force was based on the expectation of Defence spending at 1.8% but in reality it is presently 1.6% and likely to fall. Personnel expenditure is deemed still too large a proportion of Defence spending. In the meeting it was indicated that the Department of Defence does not want to change its Force Design but hold it pending. It is therefore recommending the approved Force Design notwithstanding the lack of resources.

Defence Land and Environment Issues:

The Department gave a slide & video presentation on the subject. The Department of Defence is the custodian of large areas of land. It currently controls 493 000 hectares (0.4% of South Africa) and 234 000 hectares have been returned over the past 10 years. Base closure and reuse will become the most tangible benefit of the Department's commitment to RDP. The Department of Defence in cooperation with the Department of Public Works identifies redundant military bases which are then cleaned up and handed back to the Department of Public Works for reuse. The Department is no longer insisting on substitution of land for land being released.

Land claims

The Department of Defence is affected as certain restitution claims have been made against Defence land.

The chapter has a summary of contested land:

Lohathla claim is being contested by the Department (will go to court in May) as it contests that it would have to spend R500 million to move.

Schmidsdrift resettlement is underway but alternative land is needed.

Mosita Training area in Vryburg has been cleaned up and is ready to hand back.

Boschhoek in Dundee will be contested.

Ysterplaat claim has been de-registered as the claiming community claimed the wrong land.

Madimbo Corridor in Messina is not contested and an agreement is expected in April.

Roodewal claim in Pietersburg is being investigated by the Land Claim Commissioner to see if it is a legal claim.

Wallmansthal claim in Pretoria is still being investigated .

Simonstown has several small property claims which are still being investigated.

Zeerust - land is being handed back

De Hoop - there is a claim but it is not within the ambit of restitution claims (similarly Donkergat).

The percentage of land that will remain within the control of Defence is directly related to the structure of the Core Force. Until that is decided, Defence cannot estimate how much land will be returned. Major General Coetzee stated further that some foreign military agents are interested in using South African training capabilities.

Ms Kota (ANC) queried how objective could Defence be on the issue of handing back claimed land. Should this not be a joint decision-making operation with the Department of Public Works.

An amendment to the chapter was suggested that states land under claim will be made available for restitution unless it is not financially feasible or it is required for essential military functions.

DJC 10/03/98 SANDF rationalisation plan: briefing

JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE

10 March 1998

SANDF RATIONALISATION PROCESS: BRIEFING

Documents handed out: The Rationalisation Plan is available in a series of five Department of Defence Bulletins (dated No 2/98 to 6/98) found at http://www.mil.za

Admiral Ludolff of the SANDF conducted the briefing on the rationalisation plan which would take place over three years starting from June 1998.

As holders of short-term contract would also be rationalised, concern was expressed by committee members that non-statutory force members comprised the bulk of the short-term contract holders. The Admiral responded that some former statutory force members were also on short-term contracts. Questions were raised on the effect of these retrenchments in terms of the 1999 elections. Another concern was the low representation of Self Protection Unit members in the SANDF.

The chairperson, Mr T Yengeni, said that members would have to consider the rationalisation plan before it was implemented.

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