Defence Budget 2007/08: discussion

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Defence and Military Veterans

23 March 2007
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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

23 March 2007

Ms TV Tobias (ANC)

Relevant Documents:
Department of Defence budget (Vote 20)
Department of Defence 2007/08 MTEF budget PowerPoint presentation
Strategic Plan for Department of Defence 2007 (MTEF 2007/08 – 2009/10) presentation
Strategic Plan for Department of Defence 2007 (MTEF 2007/08 – 2009/10) (available later at]

Audio Recording of the Meeting


The Committee highlighted some of the issues raised by the Committee during the Department of Defence budget presentation. They agreed that there has been much progress and improvement made by the Department. However they still believed that the defence budget was too high, and that there needed to be further clarity on the budgetary process. Other comments were that the number of flying hours should not be reduced, the training of pilots should be improved / continual and that there needed to be an improved facilitating of skills development.

The Chairperson stated that the purpose of the meeting was to follow up on some of the issues raised by the Committee during the Department of Defence budget presentation so that a Committee Report could be compiled on the Department's Budget for 2007/08. The Department’s budget stood at R25.9 billion, which was higher than the previous financial year. Members should feel free to air their views on the budget, without the presence of the Department, and also make recommendations on how the budget could be used to facilitate the improvement of equipment and skills development. It was also important for members to focus on the challenges faced by the Department, and the role that the Department could play in social development.


Mr M Booi (ANC) stated that a lot of improvement had been made by the Department, however the Department should have indicated the programmes that have been implemented to improve the skills of the soldiers. It needed to provide clarity in distinguishing the roles of the Chief of the South Africa National Defence Force (SANDF) and the and the Secretary for Defence, and also provided clarity into how the records of SANDF integration disappeared.  However as long as there is conceptualisation and implementation within the Department, then there will be further progress.

Mr O Monareng (ANC) agreed with Mr Booi, and stated that the Department has done well. However there were still a number of issues that needed to be resolved. The organogram created the impression that there were chief directors of the different components, whereas currently they all fall under the Joint Support programme. In terms of flying hours, there had been consensus that the hours cannot be refused. With regards to Legal services, all the points made by the Department had been noted, however the amount spent on legal services was unjustifiable, and the funds could have been allocated to other areas. The Department should have also provided a clear distinction between the role of the SANDF Chief and the Secretary for Defence, due to the fact that there is an impression that there is a scuffle for power.

Mr Botha pointed out his concern that the military ombudsperson needed complete independence. Also the Department should have elaborated on how they plan to tackle the skills shortfall. The Department also needed to provide a better explanation to the Committee on the budget as it was far too high for a developing country. The Committee needed to meet the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) to discuss progress on the implementation of the new mercenary bill. The reduction of flying hours was insane, and consensus had been reached that there should be continual training of pilots.

Mr S Mtuli (ANC) said that the Department had no fast or solid exit mechanism for soldiers, and there was a need to accelerate the service corps process.  The Department should have also provided clarity on the incentives given to the part time members of the SANDF.

Mr L Diale stated that the issue of the defence intelligence headquarters was an urgent matter that still needed to be addressed.

Mr Booi said that he was worried about Zimbabwe, and that there were huge implications caused by South Africa’s quiet diplomacy. The Department should have provided clarity on how the SANDF is analyzing the situation. South Africa also needs to be more proactive when it comes to the deployment of troops in African countries, and there also needs to be early warning systems in place which would help prevent neighbouring countries descend into political turmoil. This Committee needs to raise the issue of an early warning system with the Joint Standing Committee of Defence and the Joint Standing Committee on Intelligence, and discuss ways in which the system can be implemented without compromising South Africa's security.  The issue of the strategic defence package still needs to be addressed, and there needs to be fast tracking on the review of the White Paper.

Meeting Adjourned



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