Committee Annual Report, Committee Programme, SANDF Deployment to DRC & Burundi

Defence

22 February 2007
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JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE

JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE
23 February 2007
COMMITTEE ANNUAL REPORT, COMMITTEE PROGRAMME, SANDF DEPLOYMENT TO DRC & BURUNDI

Chairperson:
Mr S Montsitsi (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Draft Committee Programme for first quarter of 2007.
Committee Annual Report 2006
President’s Letter on SANDF deployment to Burundi
Letter by the President on SANDF deployment to the DRC

SUMMARY
The Committee Programme for the first quarter 2007, letters from the President on deployment of SANDF personnel to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Burundi and the Committee’s Annual Report for 2006 were approved. The Committee Report on the Study Tour to Algeria was still being finalised by the delegation that had represented the Committee. Some comments were made concerning opposition members presence on the tour and their inclusion in the Report. The Chair assured members that one opposition member had been present and his input was included in the Report.

MINUTES
Study Tour to Algeria
The Chair stated that since the last meeting, committee members who had been part of the study tour had been given the draft report so their input could be included. These committee members he identified as Mr J Schippers (ANC), Ms M Nxumalo (ANC), Mr A Mzizi (IFP) and the Chair Mr S Montsitsi (ANC). He added that final comments and adoption of the report would take place at the next meeting.

The Committee Secretary, Mr J Ramrock clarified that the report had not yet been circulated to all members and only the delegation had it.

Ms M Matsemela (ANC) asked if any opposition party members had been part of the tour. She said it was important that such members be included in drafting the final version of the report so that future discrepancies could be avoided.

The Chair responded that all members of the delegation had a copy of the report and added that Mr Mzizi (IFP) had been a part of the trip.

Mr Schippers asked why DA committee members had not been a part of the delegation.

The Chair said a DA member who was supposed to have travelled did not have the necessary travel documents at the time and had therefore been unable to travel.

Committee Programme 2007
The Committee adopted the Programme.

The Chair commented that the Programme was very intensive and urged that members consider it carefully and closely.

Letter from the President - DRC
As the letter had been discussed at the Committee’s previous meeting, the Chair reminded members that the letter informed the Committee that SANDF personnel had been deployed to the DRC to assist with elections there.

The Committee accepted the deployment.
 
Letter from the President – Burundi
The Chair referred to a letter from the President dated 20 December 2006. As with the previous letter it stated the President’s approval that SANDF personnel be deployed to Burundi to provide security for political leaders who had returned to the country. He added that the costs of this peacekeeping effort had been estimated at R86 million for the financial year 2006/ 2007 and R101 million for financial year 2007/ 2008.

The Committee accepted the deployment.

Committee Annual Report
The Chair stated that the Report had been discussed in detail at the last meeting.

The Committee adopted the Programme.

Special Pensions Meeting
The Chair said at the next meeting the issue of special pensions would be addressed. He asked that members be prepared for a lengthy and detailed meeting. The major thrust of the hearing was alleviating the plight of defence force veterans.

Ms Matsemela noted that a number of veterans were in different sectors of the defence force, for example the air force, navy as well as the army. She wanted to know if those presently in the system would be included in the plans.

The Chair responded that the Committee would look at the benefits policies for veterans. It would be determined if the policies ensured good living standards for veterans as well as ensured parity between benefits for veterans in the former apartheid system and the current system. He noted that all veterans, regardless of having been part of former liberation struggle forces, should be elegible for the same benefits.

The Chair adjourned the meeting.

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