Committee Report on Makhado Air Force Base Visit:Adoption & Letter of Deployment of Defence Force by President: discussion

Defence

08 November 2007
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE

JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE
9 November 2007
COMMITTEE REPORT ON MAKHADO AIR FORCE BASE VISIT:ADOPTION & LETTER OF DEPLOYMENT OF DEFENCE FORCE BY PRESIDENT: DISCUSSION

Chairperson:
Dr E Schoeman (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Committee Report on Makhado Air Force Base visit [available at
Committee Reports once published]
Letter on notification period for Deployment of the Defence force by the President [document not made available to the public]

Audio recording of meeting

SUMMARY
The Committee considered its report on the Makhado Air Force base oversight visit, and adopted the report with amendments. The Committee considered the Letter of Deployment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) by President in compliance with international obligations, which dealt with the timeframe within which Parliament needed to be informed of such deployment. A legal opinion on the matter was secured, which Members considered. The opinion was however declared confidential and was thus not made available to the public.

MINUTES
Committee Report on Makhado Air Force Base visit
The Committee discussed the findings and challenged contained in the Report. on the visitencountered on the oversight visit and made some recommendation to the challenges faced by the Makhado Air Force Base. Some of the challenges included the arrests of illegal immigrants and the problem of water scarcity on the base.

Mr J Schippers (ANC) pointed out the concerns surrounding the psychometric assessment used in the employment of staff at the base. The tests proved to be challenging for some staff as they struggled with the language in which the tests were conducted. 

The Chairperson responded that it was an important concern. It was necessary for staff to be proficient in English as it is the global language. Furthermore, it would be a huge logistical problem to conduct the test in all the eleven official South African languages in order to cater for the none English speakers. Also, the lack of computer proficiency among the staff was a problem that definitely needed to be looked into.

Mr L Diale (ANC) and Mr Schippers alerted Members to the need to bring about real transformation at the Base, even though racial integration had progressed adequately.

A few technical and grammatical changes were effected by Members, and the report was adopted with amendments.

Letter of Deployment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) by President
The Chair informed Members that the letter dealt with the deployment of the SANDF by the President in compliance with an international obligation, and the timeframe within which the President needed to inform Parliament of such employment. He asked whether Members had read the letter, and asked the Committee Researcher whether the letter had followed the correct protocol and procedures.

Mr P Daniels, Committee Researcher, answered in the affirmative.

Members discussed its role within the procedure, as well as the legal opinion on the matter as contained in the letter.

The meeting was adjourned.

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