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JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE
19 March 1998
FORCE DESIGN TRANSFORMATION (CHAPTER 10 OF DEFENCE REVIEW): BRIEFING
The committee were briefed by General Ismail and Commodore Uys. General Ismail reported that the transformation plan is ongoing and should be completed by year end. This will be done within the current Defence budget of R9201 billion. The current budget will not be able to to support the approved force design. Hencesupport structures will have to be cut in the expectation that they can be increased in the future.
Director of Transformation Management, Commodore Uys, stated that they were moving into the implementation phase of the transformation plan. The transformation plan is as follows:
1996: unfreeze - setting up a team to create a frame of reference
They are using a "systems" business approach which places an emphasis on joint service operations for producing combat readiness. Ministry of Defence gives strategic direction through defence policy. Air Force, Army and Naval units then combine to make up joint force combat readiness. The concept of "jointness" starts with training and will take priority over a particular service identity/culture but without compromising service uniqueness.
Ministry of Defence
The speaker looked at the transformation of the Ministry of Defence. Armscor will be its procurement agency and will be located in the ministry. The Minister requires the chairperson of Armscor to be part of his team. The present staffing of 7000 people should be halved, even to 2000. They should all be housed in one building in Pretoria. The divisions would comprise:
Policy & Planning division
Acquisition of procurement
Staff divisions reporting to the Chief of the SANDF:
Joint Operations Staff
The Chairperson, Mr Yengeni, asked about the commando system in the light of the restructuring process since the committee had been persuaded last year that the commando units would be reorganised. The reply was that by restructuring, the administrative personnel could be reduced by 70%. This is a more cost effective way than traditional brigade/geographic structures.
Bases will be implemented as support units in bolstering combat readiness which will share services and facilities, for example, personnel and accommodation, and this would remove the duplication of support systems. Presently there are 800 units in the SANDF. The present structure will comprise 3 large bases of 3 500 troops each (Voortrekkerhoogte, TEK base, Bloemfontein)
12 medium bases of between 1500-3499 each
9 small bases of under 1500 troops each
In addition there would have to be satellite bases but these have not yet been determined.
Part-time components (Reserves)
The reason for their existence is because of possible emergencies which may arise. The recruitment of volunteers is to be implemented from 1 April 1999 and to take three years.
In reply to a query by J.A. Marais (NP), Gen Ismail said that the department is adequately warning government of the constitutional requirements to defend South Africa's integrity. Mr Makwetla (ANC) complained that the document was so wrapped in jargon that it is unintelligible to MPs.
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