ATC120516: Report on Budget Vote 22, dated 16 May 2012
REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS ON BUDGET VOTE 22: DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS, DATED 16 MAY 2012
REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS ON BUDGET VOTE 22: DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS, DATED 16 MAY 2012
The Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans having considered Budget Vote 22 (Defence and Military Veterans), reports as follows:
1.1 The Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans considered the 2012/2013 Budget of the Department of Defence and Military Veterans (DoDMV) on 9 May 2012, as part of its oversight function. Alongside the Defence budget allocation, the Committee also considered the Annual Performance Plans of the Department of Military Veterans, Defence Secretariat and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).
1.2 The Report comprises a programme-by-programme summary of key aspects of the Defence budget allocation and strategic objectives, as well as the Committees observations and recommendations. Observations made in this report should not be separated from those made in previous committee reports. The documents should thus be read along with previous reports, including the Committees 2011 Budgetary Review and Recommendation (BRR) report.
1.3 As in previous years, the report should be read in the context of the time constraints imposed on the Committee, particularly by the parliamentary programme, as well as the limited time available between the tabling of the strategic /annual performance plans and the Budget Vote debate.
1.4 The Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act (2009) provides for, amongst others, a parliamentary procedure to amend Money Bills, thus granting parliamentary committees greater opportunity to influence the allocation of funds to the departments they oversee. Section 5 compels the National Assembly, through its committees, to submit Budgetary Review and Recommendation (BRR) reports on the financial performance of departments accountable to them on an annual basis. The BRR report must be informed by a committees interrogation of, amongst others, each national departments medium-term estimates of national expenditure, strategic priorities and measurable objectives, National-Treasury-published expenditure reports, annual reports and financial statements, as well as observations made during oversight visits. Essentially, the BRR report is a committees assessment of a departments service delivery performance given its available resources, as well as the effectiveness and efficiency with which its programmes are implemented. Although BRR reports must be published at a specific time in the budget cycle, it is clear that the work that informs the report must be ongoing. The Committee regrets to report that, despite the significance of this process, it is yet to schedule a briefing on the progress made with the implementation of the Committees recommendations.
2. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE
The Committee is mindful of the new reporting format, which separates the strategic objectives of the Defence Secretariat and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) Consequently, the Committee received separate briefings on the Annual Performance Plans of the Defence Secretariat and SANDF. We note that this new reporting format would better reflect that the Defence Secretariat and SANDF are separate institutions with distinct yet complementary mandates and should thus be serviced differently, but that matters discussed in both briefings are interlinked and should not be reported separately.
2.1 For the financial year 2012/13, the work of the Defence Secretariat and the South
African National Defence Force is underpinned by the following ten overarching priorities:
· Enhancing the SANDFs Landward Defence Capability
· Improving maritime security in order to effectively respond to maritime threats affecting Southern Africa
· Through approved projects within the defence industry, the Department will contribute to the creation of jobs, within available resources.
· Given the increasingly central role South Africa plays in promoting peace and security on the continent, much work will be done to enhance the SANDFs peacekeeping capability.
· Defence capabilities will be utilised to provide initial training to selected youngsters, as part of its National Youth Service programme.
· Transformation and revitalisation of the Reserve Forces continues, in order to fulfil various roles allocated to them to support the regular force.
· The restructuring of the defence industry is set to continue, with emphasis on required defence capabilities and sustainability.
· Work continues regarding the establishment of the Defence Works Capability and it is hoped that the in-house capability that will ultimately assume the responsibility of the repair and maintenance of defence facilities will become fully operation and resourced.
3. 2012/2013 BUDGET ALLOCATION
3.1 The defence budget allocation of R37.4 billion for 2012/13 constitutes 3.81% of the total appropriation of R969.4 billion. Although the budget allocation has increased by 9.15% in nominal terms, it has in actual fact increased by only 3.07% in real terms, in comparison to 2011/12. This can be viewed as a positive after the 2009/10 to 2010/11 real decrease of 10.11%. This increase will inter alia be utilised for, amongst others, the execution of border safeguarding, the institutionalisation of the new service dispensation for SANDF members, enhancing the landward defence capabilities, ensuring optimal human and capital acquisition through approved defence industry projects, enhancing the Defence Forces peacekeeping capability, revitalising the reserve component, and consolidating the SADCs maritime security strategy
4. OVERVIEW OF ALLOCATION PER PROGRAMME
4.1 The Administration programme consists of 15 sub-programmes, with the latest addition being that of the Department of Military Veterans. It covers 9.95% of the total Defence Budget, the fourth largest of the programmes, and it executes the Departments overall management, administration and policy development. In nominal terms it increased with 0.33% and, in real terms, it shows a decrease of -5.26%. Within the Administration programme, sub-programme Office Accommodation is the largest at 50.54% - the sub-programme manages the payment of accommodation charges, leases and municipal services - with the Human Resources Support Services and Financial Services second and third respectively. [i]
The Military Veterans Management sub-programme has received R 51 million as opposed to R 45 million the previous year. The increase in the Ministry sub-programme from R56 million in 2010/11 to R64.9 million in 2012/13 is due to the expansion of organisational structures within the office of the minister. The 2012 ENE discusses the Department of Military Veterans (DoMV) in the latter part of the Vote, and the DoMV also has a 5-year Strategic Plan (2012 2016) and a one-year 2012 Annual Performance Plan.
4.2 Programme 2: Force Employment increased with 14.53% in nominal terms and 8.15% in real terms. This programme provides and employs defence capabilities to conduct all operations and exercises. There was a 73% nominal increase in the sub-programme Support to the People, while the Special Operations and Regional Security sub-programmes also saw increases of 14% and 4.75% respectively. There was a substantial decrease in the sub-programme Defence Capability Management of 30%. This may be partly due to the decrease in the number of personnel deployed daily in external operation per year.
4.3 The Landward Defence programme is the largest programme in the Defence budget encompassing 33.84% to the total budget. It provides prepared and supported landward defence capabilities for the defence and protection of South Africa . The sub-programme with the largest increase was the Air Defence Capability with 62% in nominal terms, followed by the Artillery Capability sub-programme with 30.83% and the Operational Intelligence sub-programme with 27.72%, Although a decrease of 30.40% in nominal terms was registered in the Strategic Direction sub-programme, no clear motivation for this is provided. If it is due to the completion of the implementation and rollout of a new logistic system in the South African Army and the codification of assets, it should be stated as such and feedback should be given on the effectiveness of these systems.
4.4 The Air Defence programme is the second largest programme in the Defence budget encompassing 18% of the total budget. It has eight sub-programmes and provides prepared and supported Air Defence capabilities for the defence and protection of the country. It has seen a 6.20% and a 0.28% increase in nominal and real terms respectively from the previous financial year. The Air Combat capability consumes the largest part of the Air Defence programme with 23.49%, which signifies a 18.7% increase from the previous year. The Base Support Capability sub-programme is the second largest sub-programme with 23.23%, also an increase of 11.84 %. The Helicopter Capability is the third largest with 13.04% of the Air Defence programme. The nominal decrease of 30.33% in the Transport and Maritime Capability sub-programme is due to the finalisation of the replacement of the Astra training aircraft avionic suite project.
4.5 The Maritime Defence programme consists of 6.8% of the total Defence budget and is responsible for providing prepared and supported maritime defence capabilities for the defence and protection of South Africa . The programme showed a decrease of -0.52% and a 6.06% in nominal and real terms respectively as compared with the 2010/11 allocation. The sub-programme with the largest increase is the Maritime Human Resources and Training Capability with 24.58% in nominal terms and 17.64% in real terms, with the Base Support Capability also increased in nominal terms but decreased in real terms with 4.58%.The other three sub-programmes decreased in both nominal and real terms. The decreases in the Maritime Direction, Maritime Combat Capability and Maritime Logistic Support Capability sub-programmes need to be explained, especially in the light of South Africa s involvement in securing the Mozambican Channel.
4.6 The Military Health Support programme consists of 8.85% of the total Defence budget. The programme is also the fifth largest programme in the Defence budget (comprising 8.85% of the total budget) and saw a slight increase in nominal terms of 2.23% in comparison with 2011/12. The largest sub-programme is the Specialist/Tertiary Health Service sub-programme with 34.47% followed by the Area Military Health Support with 30.22% in terms of the percentage of Programme 6.. These are also the largest sub-programmes in monetary terms with R1.43 billion and R1.002 billion respectively.
4.7 The Defence Intelligence is the smallest of the defence programmes with an allocation of R 709 million, an increase of 7.26% in nominal terms and an increase of 1.28% in real terms in comparison with 2011/12. It provides a defence intelligence and counter-intelligence capability. It has three sub-programmes of which the largest decrease was in the Strategic Direction sub-programme with a nominal decrease of 97.66% and a real decrease of 97.79%. The other two sub-programmes namely Operations and Defence Intelligence Support, have increased in nominal terms with 3.92% and 13.23% respectively. The Operations sub-programme is the largest with 59.75% with the Defence Intelligence Support weighing in at 40.25% of the programmes total budget.
4.8 The General Support programme is the third largest programme in the Defence budget with 13.54%, and has seen an increase in nominal terms of 22.53% and 17.71% in real terms. The programme consists of five sub-programmes and is responsible for general support capabilities and services to the Department. The Joint Logistic Services is the largest sub-programme comprising 43.63% of the programmes allocation. This programme experienced a 2.61% increase in comparison to the previous year. It is followed by the Departmental Support and Command, and Management Information System sub-programmes with 21.13% and 20.11% respectively as percentages of Programme 8.
5. DEPARTMENT OF MILIARY VETERANS
The Military Veterans Act (No 18 of 2011) defines the powers and functions of the Department of Military Veterans (DoMV). The Department sets national policy and standards for the provision of socio-economic support to military veterans and their dependants, which includes benefits and entitlements. It also initiates, manages and administers military veterans affairs through the overall co-ordination and facilitation of activities of government and the private sector, to ensure coherent provision of assistance to military veterans.
5.1 According to this Department, 10 strategic priorities will guide its work for the FY 2012/2013:
· The provision of immediate social relief to the most vulnerable of military veterans
· The provision of comprehensive support services within availability of resources to both military veterans and dependants
· The promotion of military veterans heritage, and memorialising and honouring military veterans
· The promotion of empowerment programmes for and of military veterans aimed at ensuring economic participation by military veterans
· Strengthening governance and oversight protocols to give effect to the provisions of the Military Veterans Act
· Fast-tracking the delivery of benefits as espoused in Section 5 of the Military Veterans Act
· Empowerment of military veterans to enhance their contribution to reconciliation and nation-building
· Developing, confirming and deepening the skills base of military veterans
· Implementation of a high-impact communication and marketing plan
· Maintaining credibility and security of the military veterans data base.
5.2 Although not a separate vote, the Department received R51.2 million for the current financial year. This allocation is likely to increase to R53.5 million in 2013/14. . This is mainly due to the staffing of the Department, as well as the operationalisation of the department. The current budget provides for the development of policies, systems and processes to deliver socio-economic services to military veterans and their dependants. Spending for the current MTEF focuses on strengthening the departmental personnel capacity and providing national policy and standards on socio-economic support to military veterans and their dependants. The Socio-economic Support subprogramme enjoys the largest portion of the budget and will steadily grow from R21 million in the current financial year to R22.3 million in the 2013/14.
5.3 Factors likely to influence spending include:
§ Establishment of a fully functional governance risk and compliance framework.
§ Establishment and maintenance of a credible and secure national military database.
§ Development of strategic partnerships to advance delivery of benefits.
§ Provision of strategic leadership to the sector by conducting research.
§ Provision of comprehensive health-care and wellness support services to veterans.
§ Staffing of provincial offices and strengthening stakeholder relations.
§ Facilitation of the integration of military veterans into the national workforce and provision of relevant skills by strengthening the Center for Advanced Training (CAT).
6. COMMITTEE FINDINGS/OBSERVATIONS
6.1 Military Veterans
The Portfolio Committee will continue to monitor the development of a well-co-ordinated strategy to meet the immediate and basic needs of military veterans interventions that will contribute to long-term self-sufficiency. The improvement of the socio-economic conditions of military veterans is essential, given the potential political and social consequences the current situation may hold. For this reason, the Committee stresses that the Department of Military Veterans should become fully operational as a matter of urgency
6.2 Defence Budget
As in previous years, the Committee re-iterates the need for an increase in the Defence budget to at least 1.7% of GDP. However, while an increase in the funding for the Departmemt should be considered, maximum efficiency and accountability in the planning and use of limited resources are essential.
6.3 Border control
The Committee re-iterates that, in order for the SANDF to effectively undertake the monitoring and patrolling of the landline borders, an adequate number of soldiers has to be deployed to conduct foot, air and vehicle patrols. The SANDFs readiness to patrol the border largely depends on the rejuvenation of the Defence Force to ensure that appropriately skilled and young soldiers are trained and ready for deployment. A comprehensive briefing on the implementation of Operation Corona should be scheduled in the current financial year.
Deteriorating conditions of facilities remains a cause for concern. These conditions not only impact on the morale of the SANDF, but could also threaten the health and safety of our soldiers. The Committee welcomes the establishment of an in-house repair and maintenance capability and recognises the need for greater interaction with the Department regarding the specific repair and maintenance challenges, the planned management plans, as well as the budgetary implications. It is against this background that the Department is requested to speed up the migration of the repair and maintenance responsibility from the Department of Public Works.
7.1 The Committee acknowledges that greater synergy is needed in the manner in which the DoD budget is allocated across the eight programmes, as the improved alignment of performance targets to strategic objectives remains work in progress. We urge that steady improvements be made to move towards such a balance.
7.2 While mindful of the challenges faced by the Departments of Defence and Military Veterans, the Committee recommends that the 2012/13 budget be approved. The current Defence budget is inadequate to meet the needs of the SANDF, and the Committee will thus monitor the improved alignment of the limited Defence budget to strategic priorities. To this end the DoD and DoMV will henceforth be requested to consult the Committee before submitting its proposed budget to National Treasury.
8.1 The Committee thanks all those who appeared before it for their input and co-operation, and looks forward to fruitful interactions with all stakeholders as it performs its oversight of the DoDMV.
Report to be considered.
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