Transformation in Department of Defence: briefing

Defence

22 March 1999
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Meeting report

JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE

JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE

23 March 1999

TRANSFORMATION IN DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE: BRIEFING

Documents handed out:

Department of Defence: Top Level System Design

Chairperson: Ms T Modise

SUMMARY

The committee was briefed on transformation processes within the department. A slide presentation outlined their Top Level System Design. As the briefing did not refer to specific issues, a further briefing will need to highlight these.

MINUTES

Before the briefing General Nyanda, Chief of the SANDF, pointed out that no specifications were made on how in-depth the Department should be in its presentation. The Minister of Defence had been informed of the briefing and supported the content thereof. A member of the Departmental delegation then proceeded with the briefing.

The Department's transformation was based on the White Paper on the Transformation of Public Services. The core steps that the Department had taken are defined in their national security policy, which includes the consolidation of democracy as well as the implementation of affirmative action. As a practical example, the delegate looked at the steps outlined as Human Resource Related Initiatives. These are: the creation of bodies which deal with gender issues, bargaining councils, labour relations and civic education programmes.

Questions:

Please describe the Civic Education Programme.

The Civic Education Programme has called for the implementation of guidelines in training and the building of ethos. Democratic principles and cultural diversity programmes have been taught through these programmes.

We do understand that there is talk of collective bargaining within the department. Where does the Department stand?

It is in the opinion of the Department that labour unions should not exist in our environment.

The Department of Defence then turned to explain the Top Level System Design and its role in transformation:

The Top Level System Design was described as being primarily output orientated, opposed to the input orientation held in the past. Today the outputs of the Department, funded by the Government consists of:

1) Defence administration

2) Defence capabilities

Defence commitments

Each output, in turn, is produced by a process:

Output: Process:

Defence Administration Provision of Strategic Direction

Defence Capabilities Provision of Defence Capabilities

Defence Commitments Employment of Defence Capabilities

Although different processes lead to different outputs, all 3 processes were described as highly interactive. Importantly, the emphasis was made by the Department that all the processes are subject to a feedback loop. The paths followed when aiming to provide strategic direction are:

environmental monitoring and control

development of policy building,

updating of the DoD strategy and plan

execution of the plan.

The route that the strategic direction outputs follow were described as following:

Client: Output:

Military Advice and Accounts Government

Defence Policy Advice Government

Departmental Policy Executive Processes in the DoD

DoD Plan Executive Processes in the DoD

Accounts by Head of Department Government

The Department emphasised the fact that the outputs are produced by means of backward disintegration. What this means is that the outputs are made "backwards" to ensure that there is no duplication in work processes. The role of the Chief of the SANDF as accountable for Military Advice and Accounts was also explained.

Gen Nyanda emphasised that the Department of Defence has made clear transformation on the third level of operations. Provision had been made for structures such as a Special Forces Brigade and Artillery Formation. Although some of these structures have not been set into motion yet, plans are set for future implementation.

Questions:

To what extent are positions being filled in a representative manner? An impression is also that there has been a failure to transform the Reserve Forces. When will something be done about this?

The Reserve Forces has been an area of concern. Although the Eastern Cape, and parts of Gauteng, have allowed for relatively fair representation in the Reserve Forces, it has not been that rapid in other areas. Related to this fact is the time constraint for training new people. On the issue of representivity, affirmative action has been accomplished in the Department. Some goals set by the government to be reached by the year 2001 have already been attained. This is related to the fact that many people have preferred to take retirement packages than remain in the Defence Force. Gender representation is not accurate yet.

When looking at the Navy and the Airforce, what are the problems?

A great problem in these areas is the lack of trained and experienced air-controllers, pilots, sailors, etc. This is due to the fact that during the liberation struggle, these roles were not emphasised. Currently there are two Black admirals. A definite need exists for training in these areas. A further worry is the fact that we do not have enough eligible recruits to fill these positions.

To what extent is the budget addressing transition?

Factors such as a reduced budget and inflation have played havoc with departmental planning. A suggestion has been made for an interim budget to be supplied to the Department. Another problem for the Department is that it cannot make provision for unforeseen events such as the Lesotho crisis. The fact remains that the Department and its bodies need to be adequately equipped.

The Chairperson congratulated the Department on the amount of transformation attained. The Chairperson also expressed her concern on what effect the deteriorating condition of sport facilities and the sacrificing of the music corps had had on the morale of men and women serving in Defence. The Chair expressed the hope that more details would be available at the next briefing on this subject.

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