ATC130605: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans on its Oversight visits to Selected South African Air Force Bases in Western Cape, Limpopo, Kwazulu-Natal and Free State Provinces; and Site visit to Selected Armscor Research and Development Facilities – dated 15 May 2013
REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS ON
ITS OVERSIGHT VISITS TO SELECTED SOUTH AFRICAN AIR FORCE BASES IN WESTERN CAPE,
LIMPOPO, KWAZULU-NATAL AND FREE STATE PROVINCES; AND SITE VISIT TO SELECTED
ARMSCOR RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT FACILITIES DATED 15 MAY 2013
On 29 January 1 February 2013, the
Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (the Committee) undertook
oversight visits to Air Force Base (AFB)
This report comprises observations made
during each of the visits (Parts A-F) as well as the Committees
recommendations (Part G). It should be noted that at the time of writing this
report, questionnaires for the submission by the Officers Commanding of each
base, was still outstanding. Consequently, important information that may have
enhanced this report is not included.
The visits comprised orientation
briefings by base management, a tour of facilities, interactions with soldiers,
and finally de-briefing sessions.
Numerous allegations of misconduct,
abuse of power and unfair appointment procedures at bases have been raised
during the Committees interaction with soldiers. Some of these concerns have
been captured in the report but have not been tested.
Matters raised would be revisited once the Department
of Defence (DOD) has had an opportunity to investigate and report on them.
We trust that grievances submitted to the
Department would be dealt with accordingly.
Challenges identified during the
oversight visits to South African Air Force (SAAF) bases, are not new to the
Committee and thus the observations and recommendations made in this report
should be read along with previous Committee reports, adopted by the National
Mindful of our mandate, the Committee remains
concerned about the pace of and commitment to transformation within the SAAF;
as well as soldiers perception of the purpose and consequence of
transformation initiatives. We re-iterate that the implementation and adherence
to transformation policies should be assessed in order to understand the challenges
hampering the development of a Defence Force that is appropriately skilled,
gender and demographically representative and capable of operating and
maintaining the newly acquired defence equipment. Limited information regarding
the racial and gender representivity in relation to defence capabilities and
skills were made available during oversight visits and such reluctance is a
cause for concern.
report details the numerous challenges within the SAAF which require
prompt intervention and also highlights some of the frustrations expressed
by soldiers regarding living and working conditions. We commend the SAAF
members for their dedication in spite of daily difficulties experienced
and appeal that the necessary interventions be made to ensure that
treatment of soldiers are improved and conditions on bases are made
conducive for the efficient and dedicated defence and protection of all
FORCE BASE LANGEBAANWEG
primary flying training and support base. Three units operate within the base:
During its orientation briefing, the
Committee was informed that the buildings at the base were in a dire state of
Three messes required urgent
renovation, as well as the married quarters. During a brief tour of the facilities,
the Committee confirmed that certain facilities require extensive repair and
renovation. Water damage as a result of the outdated plumbing systems (drains
and drainpipes) and regular geyser bursts caused the roofs and floorboards to
rot. Stairways were slippery and also required urgent renovation. The Committee
is concerned that such deteriorating conditions pose occupational health and
safety risks and negatively impact on the morale and work ethic of members of
Budgetary constraints and the
ineffectiveness of the Department of Public Works (DPW) delay the
implementation of the planned maintenance and capital works programmes,
contributing to further deterioration of infrastructure. In order to adequately
upgrade facilities, an estimated budget of R110 million is required. An amount
of R4.5 million is needed for daily maintenance. The current funding of mainly
repairs and maintenance through
its operating budget has proven too costly, impractical and unsustainable.
While the Committee acknowledged the
need for renovations, it was less than satisfied with the shabby and unclean
condition of the facilities. While an explanation was provided to the Committee
- the PSAP (Public Service Act Personnel) personnel could not manage the upkeep
of facilities - the level of cleanliness of facilities also speaks to the level
of discipline, control and pride of students and soldiers stationed at the
base. This can only be remedied through decisive leadership.
It should be noted that, during
interaction with students and soldiers at the base, frustrations were raised at
the inadequate standard of accommodation (for students and staff), the poor
conditions of bathrooms and the need for an additional mess to accommodate the
members of the base. Concerns re-enforced the urgent need to improve the living
conditions of soldiers.
VEHICLE AND AIRCRAFT MANAGEMENT
The effective disposal of obsolete vehicles
is a cause of concern. The depot used to house these vehicles was not fully
secured and increased the risk of theft. Long delays and backlogs in the
auction procedures of vehicles are also a cause for concern. The Committee was
also informed that the registration of vehicles on the
system (electronic national administration traffic information system) is too
costly, at approximately R500 per vehicle. Revenue generated from the auction
of vehicles had to be relinquished to National Treasury, and was thus lost to
the base as an additional revenue source.
There is a shortage of appropriate
vehicles, particularly duty busses. The lack of appropriate transport
facilities, given the remoteness of base, was also raised by students during
interaction with the Committee.
During the Committees tour of hangars
used to service aircraft, the Committee was briefed on the impact of the
cancellation of Aero Manpower Groups (AMG) contract on the bases servicing
capability. It was confirmed that currently, the AMG contracted personnel
assisted with providing the technical skills necessary to service and maintain
Given the scarcity of some of these skills and
especially the attraction that the commercial and/or private sector hold for
these members, their exit may weaken the repair and maintenance capability.
While existing personnel could perform minor repairs and maintenance, the
specialist maintenance at times required for some aircraft, would be difficult.
has only two technicians,
who can perform structural repairs to aircraft. One technician is an AMG
contracted member with 12 years experience and the other a SAAF member with 3
months experience. The cancellation of the AMG contract and the consequent loss
of the more experienced technician would thus impact significantly on the
bases structural repair capability. As a contingency plan for the possible
cancellation for the AMG contract, the base management reported that two
AFB would assist in retaining
some capability, but that development and transfer of these skills require time
and results would therefore not be immediately apparent.
The Committee could not, with the
information supplied, develop an understanding of whether transformation
standards are effectively applied. Statistics provided to the Committee was
limited to the race and gender composition of each unit, while the rank profile
of the base was not supplied.
The development and retention of
personnel with scarce skills is a cause for concern. During interaction with
soldiers, concern was also raised over the availability of educational
opportunities, the lack of career management, mentorship opportunities and at
times unfair application of promotions policies. Pilots stressed that the
significant reduction of flying hours is
and a primary reason for exiting SAAF. The Committee believes that greater
scrutiny of how human resource policies are applied is needed to, not only
prevent the exodus of skills, but to ensure that all available skills at the base
are nurtured and retained. The implementation of empowerment policies,
particularly those aimed at the employment and development of persons with
disabilities and women, was also raised as a challenge. Soldiers believe that disabled
persons were not utilised and regarded as useful resources in the Defence
Career progression in the SANDF and the unequal
application of promotion policies were also raised as challenges. Soldiers concerns
over the possible victimisation and racism were raised as a serious concern and
this requires objective investigation. Grievances lodged are not processed and
the finalisation of cases is often delayed, exacerbating the risks of victimisation.
PART B: HOEDSPRUIT
AIR FORCE BASE
Six units are stationed at the base.
is a transport/utility helicopter unit that operates
Atlas Oryx helicopters.
is a reserve unit that is primarily responsible for assistance in crime
prevention operations in the
At first glance, the base facilities
seemed well maintained. However, it was soon confirmed that, while efforts are
made by soldiers to do repair and maintenance work, this is not sustainable
over an extended period of time. The derelict condition of facilities,
exacerbated by the recent flooding in
area, requires intensive maintenance and renovation. In the long term, the cost
of repairing and maintaining buildings would be greater should delays persist in
starting the necessary renovation of key
Air conditioning and cooling units are
old and should be replaced in order to control the temperature in buildings,
notably where sensitive equipment, such as computers, is being held.
Furthermore, given the climate of
, high-quality air conditioning facilities are
essential and the lack thereof often results in uncomfortable working
conditions. The Committee experienced such discomfort first hand during an
inspection of the Operation Room at 19 Squadron. While the
nature of procurement procedures and requirements of the Public Finance Management
Act (No. 1 of 1999), contribute to unreasonable delays in replacing air
conditioning units, budget constraints have forced base management to
reprioritise all needs of the base. As a result more money is spent on repairing
ageing equipment, than the cost of replacing these.
The availability of sufficient water
supply remains at risk. The pipelines of the water plant currently managed by
the SANDF need modernisation, but cannot be done due to a dysfunctional
relationship with DPW. The high demand of water from the surrounding community
often results in water supply to the base and surrounding areas being cut off.
This has an impact on the morale of soldiers at the base.
Accommodation, particularly the single
quarters, require renovation. In the past, a lack of discipline and poor
condition of recreational facilities at the
resulted in vandalism. However, through the efforts of the base management,
this trend has been reversed. Long procurement processes result in little
maintenance work being done and this is exacerbated by the aforementioned
dysfunctional relationship between DOD and DPW.
Messes and sport facilities too require
Roads at the base are of a poor quality,
made worse by the recent floods. While the repair and maintenance of roads are
not within the responsibility of the SANDF, repairs are often done by them. A
bridge, damaged by recent floods, was reconstructed by SAAF personnel with the
assistance of the community. Poor road conditions decreases the lifespan of
vehicles. The provincially administered roads leading to radar stations in
nearby mountains are also of an extremely poor quality. The dangerous road
conditions pose a risk to the lives of members having to travel to these
Hangar doors also require an upgrade
which is essential for the execution of the responsibilities and functions of AFB
Fitness is a key requirement for any
competent soldier. The base does not have an adequate sports field to train
soldiers and the poor state of land used for physical training, increases the
risk of injury. The current gym requires an overhaul as it is too small.
Security fences had also been damaged by
floods and have not since been serviced or repaired. This is unsafe and
increases the risk of security breaches at the base.
VEHICLE AND AIRCRAFT MANAGEMENT
The base cannot meet its operational
commitments with the limited roadworthy and serviceable vehicles available.
Currently, only 41 percent of vehicles at base are serviceable. For the 2012/13
financial year, only four new vehicles were received.
The vehicle repair workshop is understaffed
and ill-equipped to service especially operational vehicles. In presentation
documents supplied to the Committee, it was stated that existing personnel were
found not to be experienced or sufficiently knowledgeable of the processes and
standards of servicing a vehicle. This capability is urgently required,
particularly as the outsourcing of these services is not only costly but is
subject to tedious administrative processes, often resulting in delays.
The cancellation of the AMG contract and
the expected loss of technical skills mean that limited and inexperienced
personnel would take over the responsibility of servicing aircraft. Base management
indicated that, although it would still be able to function without AMG
personnel, it would not be at an optimal level of efficiency. The servicing of
an aircraft would take longer than before and, should more appropriately skilled
personnel not be employed, would result in more frequent and extended delays.
Aircraft are strategic assets that require optimum management and appropriately
skilled personnel for their servicing.
The 1124 personnel at
AFB comprise 690 uniformed members, 384 civilian
personnel and 50 AMG personnel. Eighty-nine percent of all posts are filled,
but the vacancy rate and the need for appropriately skilled personnel are
expected to increase once the AMG contract is terminated.
Current prioritised vacancies include that of
the Human Resource Manager, administrative positions (secretaries and typists),
field engineers and vacancies in the technical support division.
Statistics supplied to the Committee,
suggest that while all race groups are represented, upper and middle management
positions are mostly occupied by white uniformed personnel, while the lower
ranking positions are mostly filled by black uniformed personnel. This skewed
representation is also apparent in the composition of civilian personnel
senior clerks are mostly white, while junior clerks are mostly black. The age
profile of personnel was not provided and the information regarding the
effective application of progression policies and mobility exit strategies were
not presented and require greater scrutiny.
nature of misconduct incidents at the base suggests that discipline and the
development of a more professional culture remain work in progress. Cases
include assault, damage to property, absenteeism and the use of threatening
AIR FORCE BASE MAKHADO
AFB Makhado is the centre for the development of the
fighter capability and the base is made up of five units.
DPW has failed to provide the necessary
maintenance work and upgrade of base facilities. In order to maintain
facilities at an adequate level, the priority repairs and maintenance are
managed and funded from the bases operational budget.
The much-needed upgrade of the married quarters
was underway, but this is funded from the operational budget at a cost of
R10 000 per unit. Given the anticipated number of new recruits, accommodation
requires extension, particularly housing for female soldiers.
Medical services and facilities are
inadequate. Soldiers often have to seek the services of private medical
practitioners which, given the remoteness of the base and the unavailability of
reliable transport, increases soldiers cost of living. Specialist treatment is
costly and often only available in
Food supplies at base are limited and at
times overpriced. Soldiers often have to travel long distances to the nearest
town and, given the scarcity of reliable transport, contribute to an
unsustainable increase in cost of living, affecting the well-being of the
Since the power station at base is
dysfunctional and has not been repaired, the base relies on generators for its daily
electricity supply. The operation of these generators reportedly cost R50 000
per day. This is funded from an already slim operational budget and is not cost
effective since replacing the power station would be less expensive than the
use of these generators. The replacement of power station is a responsibility
Given the limited capacity of the
above-mentioned generators, the frequent power cuts also prove disruptive to
the daily operations, and threaten the safety of water supply provided by 14
boreholes at the base. The high levels of lime found in the water means that
the water supplies are contaminated and poses a threat to the health of
VEHICLE AND AIRCRAFT MANAGEMENT
The Committee was informed that only 39
per cent of vehicles are serviceable, while obsolete vehicles are not disposed
of. Duty busses for the safe transport of soldiers are urgently required.
While aircraft had been successfully
integrated, the Committee noted that, given the lack of technicians, pilots,
instructors and funding, these aircraft would be difficult to operate and maintain.
It was stressed that limited flying hours meant that aircraft were not optimally
utilised, thus also contributing to their limited lifespan. As in the case of
, the base would be able to operate
without AMG personnel, although the efficient servicing of aircraft would be
During discussions with the Committee, many
soldiers expressed frustration that career progression and promotion policies
were not fairly applied. A need for improved access to further educational
opportunities and financial assistance for those
who wished to further their studies, was also expressed. Currently such
opportunities are limited due to the remote location of the base and the distance
from Further Education and Training (FET) institutions.
The base struggles to retain experienced
and highly trained personnel, particularly pilots, instructors and technicians.
Limited funding resulted in a reduction in flying hours and consequently, SAAF
trained pilots leave the air force for more lucrative commercial employment.
This affects the operational capability of the SAAF.
Air Force Base Durban hosts two units, namely 15 Squadron
(helicopter transport unit) and 508 Squadron (protection squadron). The primary
concern raised by base management was that, for the last eight (8) years, the
base was to be relocated to
Facilities at the base are in a state of
neglect and DPW had cancelled repair and maintenance work at base amid an unconfirmed
decision that the AFB Durban would be relocated. As a result, urgent repair and
maintenance are done by soldiers, and this practice, given the poor state of
neglect, is not sustainable over an extended period of time.
The degrading conditions of buildings impact
on the morale and professionalism of soldiers who are performing core functions
under poor and stressful conditions.
Accommodation facilities require urgent
renovation (broken doors, peeling paint and inadequate bathroom facilities) and
should be extended, as dormitories are currently overcrowded six soldiers,
rather than the requisite four are allocated per dormitory room. Theft of
furniture (including curtains) adds to the overall state of neglect of these
Given the shortage of personnel, gardens
are unkempt. Gardening services, the Committee was informed, would be provided
by an external service provider, which according to the base management could
be more costly than employing personnel to perform such tasks.
Sports facilities are woefully inadequate
and the sports field and squash courts require immediate repair and
maintenance. Moreover, the road leading to sports and recreational facilities
are riddled with potholes and had not been repaired in the past three years. Funds,
the Committee was informed, had recently been allocated for the roads urgent
The sickbay, although comprising one
doctor, a psychologist, a social worker, a pharmacist and 5 nurses, do not have
an ambulance. This means that, should an emergency occur which require an
ambulance, fatalities is probable, given the distance between the base and the
The lack of
appropriate medical transport to other medical services is costly to soldiers
as the use of alternative transport cost a soldier at least R300. It was
recommended that a car and ambulance, provided for the sickbay in previous
years, should be re-instated.
Major maintenance work is required to the
administrative area (peeling paint,
and floors), old hubs in the Communication and Signal Centre
to be replaced
and aircraft hangars should be repaired to prevent
A sink building on the base was
condemned two years earlier, but the unit still awaits authority for its
demolition. It is now being used as a storage facility, which given the status
of the building, is an unsafe and irresponsible practice.
the move of
VEHICLE AND AIRCRAFT MANAGEMENT
The disposal of the large number of
unserviceable vehicles is a major obstacle. The six year time-frame to dispose
of these vehicles was mainly attributed to a tedious and lengthy administrative
process. Vehicles could not be auctioned as required, and while the base followed
procedures, constant changes to these procedures often resulted in delays.
These vehicles have to be disposed of as soon
as possible, given the security risk associated with possible theft of parts
and possibilities of fire.
There were 5 AMG members at the base,
two of whom were clerks, a technical training officer, a sheet metal workers
-tuner. The Committee was informed that the
cancellation of the AMG contract (and without the 3 technical AMG personnel)
made the maintenance and repair of aircraft difficult.
The base management indicated that it had
a functional disciplinary process. A breakdown of the disciplinary matters indicated
3 dismissals (for
without Permission-AWOP), 1
suspension due to rape and 20 DD1s (a charge sheet) with a 80% conviction rate.
The base further dealt with 3 grievances. Most grievances lodged dealt with
staffing and promotions, as was raised by soldiers during the delegations
meeting with personnel on the base.
Seventy seven percent of the critical
posts have been staffed but owing to the lack of suitable housing (only 55
families are accommodated at the base), resignations are common. The difficulty
in securing accommodation near the base, further contributes to regular
resignations or transfers.
Soldiers also raised the challenges
posed by administrative delays in the processing of Subsistence and Travel (S&T)
allowances, particularly after external deployments. Amounts were deducted from
their monthly salaries related to the external deployment, often more than the amounts
that were paid out to them. In addition, these queries took long to resolve as
the relevant section at Defence Head Quarters was not properly staffed.
is a major source of discontent which can mainly be attributed to ineffective
communication between the Defence Head Quarters and the base. The moratorium
placed on placements and promotions meant that critical vacancies could not be
While a proper career management
plan is required, the base does not have input into the appointment of
personnel by the Defence Head Quarters resulting in unhappiness as suitable
candidates are often available on the base.
: AIR FORCE BASE BLOEMSPRUIT
The Committee was met by the Acting Base
other officers in acting positions, since the management of the base was attending
SAAF Day in
Projects which form part of the five-year
maintenance plan, in partnership with DPW, are not effectively implemented. Facilities
are thus left to deteriorate and delays in maintenance have a negative impact
on flying operations, due to occupational health and safety risks.
The ageing water reticulation systems
require replacement currently leaking pipes often lead to sewage problems and
Although dependent on available funding,
the Committee noted that attempts have been made to improve the living
conditions of soldiers. While accommodation for single soldiers is sufficient,
housing for married couples is inadequate.
The newly renovated bathroom facilities had
been vandalised, which to the Committee, highlighted the level of discipline
The outdated air conditioning system requires
urgent attention and replacement. Two classrooms are without air conditioners
which have a negative impact on learning and training at the base.
HUMAN RESOURCE MATTERS
The filling of vacancies remains one of
the core challenges to the effective operation of the base. Twenty eight positions
need to be filled and these are: 3 management positions (Budget Manager,
Corporate Communications Manager and a counter-intelligence post); 8 vacancies
in the technical division; 3 posts in the Verification Unit, 9 posts in the
transport sections, 1 warrant officer post (Mess Purchasing Clerk), 1 Sergeant
post (Mess purchasing Clerk) and 3 PSAP posts in the Laundry section.
During the Committees meeting with
soldiers many expressed a desire for proper career-
and that educational and training opportunities should be made available for
promotion and advancement in the SAAF. Concern was also expressed that post
structures require review in order to ensure that any position created and
filled are suited to
the mandate and
functions of the SAAF.
Improved communication is required
regarding the salary structure of personnel many soldiers expressed concern
that while salaries are earned every month, clarity regarding the various deductions
and reasons for these
not made clear, in spite of
numerous requests for more information. This is a source of frustration.
Salaries do not include danger allowances and travel allowances have decreased
by 50 percent since 2011. Similar concerns regarding S&T as found at AFB
Durban were raised.
The Base is responsible for the training of
helicopter pilots and flight
the Atlas Oryx, A109 and
attack helicopters. The enrolment is fairly low at 7 pupil pilots on the A109s
and 4 on the Oryx helicopter. Recruitment is enhanced through the
and Young Falcons programmes. Given the reduction
of flying hours, recently qualified pilots do not fly enough, and are not
nearly sufficient to enhance experience flying hours have been reduced from
250 hours per annum to 100 hours. Given this state of affairs, pilots tend to
resign from the Air Force since little incentive is provided to remain in
There are eight AMG personnel at the
base, 3 working at 16 Squadron and 5 others at other units in the base. Some
have experience of more than 20 years and can perform more complex maintenance
and repair work. Although young qualified personnel are available, they lack
the necessary experience which can only be acquired over time and under the
supervision of experienced staff.
One hangar built two years ago had been
fitted with faulty new generation lighting. This state of affairs increases
safety risks, and cannot be repaired by staff, given the associated legal
liability A second hangar suffered structural problems which led to the one
door collapsing adding to the safety risk of staff and equipment.
Several attempts at resolving these problems
proved to be unsuccessful but assurances were given that DPW would make the
necessary repairs in the near future.
Delays in the delivery of spares needed
to repair aircraft were also raised as a cause of concern.
In one instance, the base had to wait 12
months for spares to be delivered.
The Committee visited selected
facilities to understand the research activities
conducted there. These are critically needed to ensure that the SANDF maintains
its strategic capabilities, and that these remain at an internationally
During the orientation briefing the
Committee was informed that while it was confident that, as envisaged,
could meet its defence technology, research and
development; as well as test and evaluation requirements of the Department of
Defence in an efficient, effective and economical manner, key challenges
In order to meet its mandate and
deliver services required by the State, sufficient funding and appropriately
skilled personnel are needed. Improved methods to guard the intellectual
property of domestically developed products and systems, through amongst
others, providing strategic guidance to
local defence industry as well as
strategic research and development activities, are also required. In this way,
The delegation visited the
provided with an overview of research in the fields of biomechanics, cognitive
ergonomics, anthropometry, shoe design, and hearing protection.
Work in these disciplines is focused on
design and specification of human-machine systems, as well as test and
evaluation of environmental stressors, human physiology, and specific health
and safety concerns.
On previous occasions, concerns have been
expressed regarding the ability to retain and attract appropriately skilled
personnel necessary for
to provide services
in accordance with its mandate.
the oversight visit, it was evident that, while certain challenges regarding
the skills require ongoing monitoring, the quality and professionalism of
researchers who briefed the Committee, indicate that measures aimed at
developing skills and transforming the existing personnel profile, are bearing
At the time of writing this report, the
Committee had not received formal notification that the appointment of a Chief
Executive Officer (CEO) had been finalised.
Slow progress in the filling of such a critical vacancy means that,
contrary to good governance principles, this strategic entity continues to
function without stable leadership.
The Committee expressed its dissatisfaction
at the level of security at
was informed that such services were provided by a private security agency.
The Delegation agreed that, given the
strategic nature of the
arrangements required review and should be on par with security arrangements
provided to buildings and facilities classified as National Key Points (NKP).
The Committee requests that the Minister of Defence and
Military Veterans (the Minister) ensures that the following recommendations are
considered and due consideration be given to their implementation. The Minister
should further ensure that responses on recommendations feasibility and/or
implementation are submitted to Parliament, within one month of the adoption of
the report by the National Assembly (NA):
The Committee is shocked at the state of
facilities of SAAF bases visited and is concerned about the relationship
between the DOD and DPW. Greater clarity is needed regarding the nature of, and
challenges to, the implementation of a service level agreement (
The Committee questions the pace of and commitment
to the transformation of the SAAF into an appropriately skilled, gender and
demographically represented defence force, especially as it relates to the
ability to operate and maintain newly acquired defence equipment.
In this regard, vital statistics regarding
the racial and gender representivity in relation to defence capabilities and
skills were not made available in order to evaluate the progress made with
transforming the SAAF.
recommends that within one month of this reports adoption by the NA, the
Minister, submits to Parliament, a detailed status report on the
transformation and the associated challenges.
The Committee notes that the competition
for scarce skills impact negatively on the
of the South African Air Force (SAAF). However, in order to prevent the loss of
particularly pilots, technicians and instructors, employment contracts of those
individuals with specialised skills, should be reviewed to allow for a binding
period of service after completion of training. It should also be noted that
the drastic reduction of pilots flying hours contribute to the loss of skills,
and this too require urgent reporting by the Department.
In addition, other retention strategies such
as occupation-specific allowances should either be increased or considered
where they are absent.
During the oversight visit, the
Committee took note of concerns regarding the effect of the termination of AMG
contract on the ability of the SAAF to service and maintain aircraft.
We are of the opinion that skills development,
particularly the required specialised skills, remains the responsibility of the
DOD. A comprehensive report, detailing the different areas and skills
development initiatives to address specific concerns should be submitted to
Parliament within one month of the adoption of this report by the NA.
Furthermore, Parliament should be
provided with a report that clarifies whether existing career and promotions
policies are in place, and whether these were effectively implemented and
explained to members of the SAAF. Soldiers perception was that this was not in
place and that nepotism and
were rife in the
ranks, breeding dissatisfaction and frustration and impacting on the
professionalism and discipline of soldiers.
Parliament should be provided with a
detailed assessment of the management of grievances. Soldiers expressed their
dissatisfaction at the perceived ineffectiveness of the grievance system and
the Committee believes that the failure to acknowledge and attend to grievances
could compromise the commitment and professionalism of SAAF members.
A report should be submitted to Parliament within
one month of the adoption of the Committees report by the NA.
date, the appointment of a Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
has not been
The Committee urges that this appointment is prioritised.
Security arrangements at
should be on par with that provided for buildings
and facilities classified as National Key Point (NKP).
The Committee recommends an urgent review of
current security arrangements.
We re-iterate that a
sophisticated local defence industry is crucial for
the SANDF to maintain the necessary state of readiness in the most cost
In this regard, the
Department should resolve the following issues as a matter of urgency:
sufficiently support the SANDF in maintaining its
capabilities; and that
The review of
defence policy (and the policy framework for the restructuring of the South
African defence related industry) is clarified and finalised.
to be considered.
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