ATC120829: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans on the Joint Workshop of Joint Standing Committee on Defence & The Portfolio Committee on Defence & Military Veterans held in Arniston on Saturday, 19 May 2012, dated 22 August 2012
REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE AND MILITARY
VETERANS ON THE JOINT WORKSHOP OF JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE AND THE
PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS HELD IN ARNISTON ON
SATURDAY, 19 MAY 2012, DATED 22 AUGUST 2012
The joint workshop formed part of
the revised Committee Programme which was considered in a Joint Standing
Committee on Defence (JSCD) committee meeting. It was decided that such a session
should be held jointly with the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military
Veterans (PCODMV) in order for the two defence committees to agree on their
focus areas and working relationship. This would avoid duplication and improve
oversight over the Department of Defence and Military Veterans, as well as the
related Defence structures, such as the SANDF, the Defence Service Commission,
the Military Ombud and the Defence Industry.
Mr MS Motimele (PCODMV Chairperson -
ANC), Mr JJ Maake (JSCD Co-Chairperson - ANC); Mr SD Montsitsi (JSCD
Co-Chairperson - ANC), Ms NR Mabedla (ANC); Ms PN Daniels (ANC); Mr AM Maziya
(ANC); Mr EM Mlambo (ANC); and Ms MC Dikgale (ANC).
JSCD: Mr NB Fihla(ANC); Ms MV
Mafolo(ANC); Mr TMH Mofokeng(ANC); Mr MC Maine(ANC); Mr LPM Nzimande(ANC); Mr
DV Bloem (COPE); Prince MM Zulu (IFP); Mr VM Manzini (DA) andMr D Joseph
PCODMV: Mr N Diale (ANC); Ms HC
Mgabadeli (ANC); Mr A Mlangeni (ANC); Mr M Nhanha (COPE); Mr M Mncwango (IFP);
Mr P Groenewald (FF+); Mr LM Mphahlele (PAC);
Mr DJ Maynier (DA) and Mr S Esau (DA).
Officials in attendance:
Dr Sam Gulube (Secretary for Defence
DoDMV); Siphiwe Dlamini ( Head of Communications DoDMV; Prof Lindy
Heinecken (Facilitator Stellenbosch University); Mr Barry Wheeler (Corporate
Executive Auditor General); Mr Musa Hlongwane (Business Executive
General); Mr Banie Engelbrecht (
Chief Director Budget Management DoD); Mr M Cocks (DoD:Office of the CFO); Mr
P Ramsee (DoD:Office of the CFO); Ms Marina Nel ( Senior Procedural Officer
NA Table); Mr Thabiso Ratsomo (Chief Director DODMV); Ms Thabo Gigaba ( PLO
Ministry DODMV); Ms Swazi Taitai ( Director: PLO DOD); Mr Modise Kabeli ( Communication
Parliament); Ms Nareema Kelly ( Study Group Sec PC & JSCD); Ms B Madikane
(Com Sec JSCD); Ms T Majone (Com Assistant); Mr E Bazier (Com Assistant), and
Mr P Daniels (acting JSCD Researcher).
TERMS OF REFERENCE
The workshop was focused on
enhancing Committee members capacity in exercising oversight over both the
Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans and the Department of Defence and
Military Veterans. As part of its oversight role, the Joint Standing Committee
on Defence has been mandated to investigate and make recommendations on
defence-related issues. The workshop was aimed at giving members an opportunity
to strategise and plan on how to fulfil their mandate and, in the process,
improve on oversight over the Department.
It was decided that such a session
should be held jointly with the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military
Veterans in order for the two defence committees to agree on focus areas and
their working relationship. This would not only avoid duplication of work, but
also enhance the oversight responsibility of these defence committees over the
Department and related defence structures.
This exercise would assist members
in overseeing the implementation of legislation, the monitoring and evaluation
of spending, the functioning of the Department, and especially the management
THE WORKSHOP ACTIVITIES
The Parliamentary defence committees
received presentations on the roles of the defence committees; the 2012
Programme covering matters relevant to the defence committees, including the
State of the Nation Address and matters arising from it; the relationship
between the defence committees and media; mid-term performance and focus areas
for 2012 2014; the budget process; financial and audit information in the
Annual Report ; interpreting strategic plans; and the Budgetary Review and
OBSERVATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Roles of the Defence Committees (JSCD
Section 228 of the Interim
Constitution (1993) stipulates the functions of the Joint Standing Committee on
Defence as follows: to investigate and make recommendations regarding the SA
National Defence Forces budget, functioning, organisation, armaments policy,
morale and state of preparedness; perform any functions relating to
parliamentary supervision of the SANDF as may be prescribed by law; consider
quarterly and annual reports submitted by the National Conventional Arms
Control Committee (NCACC); consider and report on the employment of the SANDF;
report to the Houses on any matter referred to it, and report to the House on
its activities at least once a year.
Joint Rule 201 gives similar powers
to the Portfolio Committee, namely to monitor, investigate, enquire into and
make recommendations concerning any such executive organ of state,
constitutional institution or other body or institution, including the
legislative programme, budget, rationalisation, restructuring, functioning,
organisation, structure, staff and policies of such organ of state, etc., as
well as processing legislation.
recommendation was to redefine the roles and responsibilities of the two
defence committees to ensure optimal synchronisation and to avoid duplication,
or to repeal section 228(3) (d) of the interim Constitution.
The presentation pointed out that
the JSCD was established in terms of section 228 (3) of the Interim
Constitution (1993) and Joint Rule 120A. Membership (JR 120B), is determined by
section 228 (3) of the Interim Constitution read with item 24 (1) of Schedule 6
to the Constitution, which states that it
is equal to the number obtained by dividing by 10 the total number of
seats held in the National Assembly by all parties holding more than 10 seats.
The appointment of co-chairpersons is also dealt with (JR 120C).
However, Joint Rule 120B prescribes
a particular formula that, in the 4
Parliament, has brought the
membership of the JSCD to 37.
affects decision-making due to the fact that JSCD
meetings often lack a quorum. The size of the committee also makes it difficult
to manage and to reach decisions.
Letters from the
Sec 228(5) of the Interim
Constitution stipulates that Parliament may, by resolution, terminate any
employment (of the SANDF), but that such termination shall not affect the
validity of anything done in terms of such employment up to the date of such
Committee received letters very late and was thus never in a position to
exercise the powers granted by sec 228(5) of the Interim Constitution.
recommendation was to
report the delays to the Speaker, who should take it up with
the Leader of Government Business.
The Rules of
Parliament can be used to close meetings, to close certain parts of meetings
and/or to close meetings to the public and media.
Parliament have however taken an oath which forbids them to divulge
confidential information and to respect the Rules of Parliament. Non-compliance
leads to possible disciplinary action being taken.
discussion on these issues revealed that members felt that the sanction
provided for in the case of non-compliance, was not sufficient. The Rule on
divulging information as discussed in closed meetings, should therefore be
The Rules of
Parliament should be not only be strengthened in this regard, but there should
also be a revision of the sanction of docking one months salary from the
Vetting was seen as another option
to ensure information security. The Joint Rules make no
for vetting of members and support staff, as is the case with the JSC on
The NA Table staff
that the Rules were sufficient to protect confidential information. The matter
should be revisited and Parliament should decide on whether it was necessary
for members and staff supporting the JSCD to be vetted.
Defence committees share members. Joint oversight activities are therefore
recommended to cover issues of interest to both the JSCD and PCODMV. The
challenge is that the programmes of the NA and NCOP are not synchronised, and
this complicates the management of joint oversight visits
be resolved by drafting oversight programmes jointly to avoid clashes.
The slot on
Thursday mornings for two hours is insufficient to cover committee activities,
and more time is required to engage properly with presentations.
slot often leads to members being late and the Committee not quorating to
recommendation was that the JSCD should investigate alternative slots to be
able to exercise its mandate effectively.
Parliamentary Communication Services: Committees Communication Support made a
presentation to indicate how it supports committees by producing articles for
committees on oversight visits and public hearings. It also advises if there is
a need to report a particular incident that relates to the committee as a
whole, rather than to a political party.
markets the Committee to the public through newspapers, other publications and
the radio, but, due to limited staff, it is not able to allocate dedicated
staff to committees.
expressed the view that the Defence committees believe that the media section
is able to assist in formulating media/press statements to prevent
misinterpretation and/or to clarify issues.
budgeting and reporting cycle within the Department (DoDMV)
from the Department reported that the DoDs planning, budgeting and reporting
cycle had been aligned to the National Treasury Framework for strategic plans
and the National Treasury Regulations, in order to meet statutory timelines. It
was also informed by the January lekgotla, SONA, the National Budget Speech,
the Cabinet lekgotla in July, the MTEF, and Auditor-Generals opinion.
Assessing financial and
representatives from the Auditor-Generals office advised members on areas they
should focus on when doing oversight. Parliament should keep management
accountable and determine whether the Department was complying with
responsibilities as set out in the PFMA. They should check if there was
compliance with Parliaments appropriation; whether resources were utilised
effectively and efficiently; and review the annual report of the Department,
including the audit report; as well as holding regular meetings with the audit
was to evaluate monthly and quarterly reports and to rectify them before they
were pronounced upon by the Auditor-General.
Based on the above, the following
proposals were made to deal with
The proposal for a new defence
committee by the Defence Review Committee should be taken into consideration,
as it would have major implications for both defence committees
The Committees composition can only be changed by a
decision of the Joint Rules Committee. This amendment should take into account
section 228(3) of the interim Constitution, 1993, which deals with the
composition of the JSCD.
The overlapping of activities could be
addressed by redefining the roles and responsibilities of the two defence
committees to ensure optimal synchronisation and to avoid duplication.
duplication, it is recommended that possible new mandates be defined as
Joint Standing Committee on Defence
The JSCD should consider and report on the employment of the
SANDF in fulfilment of international obligations or in defence of the country.
It should make recommendations to the House on a declaration of a state of
defence by the President.
It should investigate and make recommendations on all
reports submitted to Parliament by the NCACC, including quarterly and annual
It should conduct a strategic overview of the SANDF with
reference to transformation, integration, equity, morale and combat-readiness.
The overview should be conducted and recommendations submitted mid-term in the
life of a particular Parliament, and a final report should be submitted at the
end of the life of that Parliament on the implementation of recommendations
contained in the mid-term overview.
It should liaise and report on civil-military relations.
It should exercise oversight over and make recommendations
on matters pertaining to military veterans.
It should report to both Houses on any matter referred to
it, or in terms of statutes.
It should report on its activities at least once a year to
the two Houses.
Committee on Defence and Military Veterans
The PCODMV should exercise oversight over the
Department of Defence and defence-related entities, including the Defence Force
It should process all defence-related legislation.
It should exercise oversight over the budget,
strategic plan and annual report of the DOD and the Department of Military
It should exercise oversight over the strategic plans
and annual reports of all defence-related entities.
It should exercise oversight over the rationalisation,
restructuring, functioning, organisation, structure, staff and policies of the
It should report on any tasks assigned to it by the
House and in terms of statutes.
It should report on its activities at least once a
year to the House.
Having considered the challenges,
both committees proposed that the Chairperson of the PCODMV and the
co-Chairpersons of the JSCD should write to the Speaker and the Chairperson
(NCOP) respectively to
propose amendments to the relevant
Rules of Parliament, especially those pertaining to the membership of JSCD for
this Fourth Parliament.
Report to be considered
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