ATC150430: Report of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence on SA Defence Review 2014



1.         Introduction

As a committee of Parliament, the Joint Standing Committee on Defence draws its mandate from the Interim Constitution of South Africa (Act 200 of 1993), in particular section 228(3).

“The committee shall be competent to investigate and make recommendations regarding the budget, functioning, organisation, armaments, policy, morale and state of preparedness of the National Defence Force and to perform such other functions relating to parliamentary supervision of the Force as may be prescribed by law.”

The Joint Standing Committee had various interactions with the 2014 Defence Review, which included an intensive engagement during the Strategic Workshop in October 2014, a discussion of the Outcomes of the Workshop on 20 November 2014, a presentation by the Minister on 6 November 2014, and a briefing by the Chiefs of the Arms of Services on 13 November 2014 on the shortcomings and challenges of the Defence Review.

The Joint Standing Committee indicated that although the finalisation and approved phase of the SA Defence Review 2014 was subjected to consultation, it did not seem like the final product as tabled at Parliament was subjected for further public input and scrutiny. It was thus essential for Parliament to create an environment whereby the affected or interested parties had one last opportunity to comment on the finalised SA Defence Review 2014.

Therefore additional public hearings at Parliament could add to the legitimacy and broader acceptance of the document. This would further serve to bring it in line with section 59 of the Constitution 1996 which notes that, “the National Assembly must facilitate public involvement in the legislative and other processes of the Assembly and its committees.” 

2.         Terms of Reference

In order to allow for inputs from the public, in particular those who have not participated in consultation process in compiling the Defence Review, the Joint Standing Committee on Defence decided to call for submissions on the iteration of the SA Defence Review 2014 as tabled in Parliament.

In particular, the Committee invited submissions on Chapter 9: The Defence Strategic Trajectory. All submissions were to clearly state the relevant chapter which was being referred to, the challenge identified and if possible, a proposed solution to the challenge.

On 20 February 2015, the Joint Standing Committee on Defence engaged with a number of role players who contributed to a request for public submissions on the SA Defence Review 2014. While a total of eight submissions were received, two declined and only three participants presented their inputs to the JSCD, as follow:

•           The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)

•           The Centers for Democracy of the University of Johannesburg and University of Cape    Town

•           The Aerospace Maritime Defence Industries Association (AMD)

2.1        Written submissions

The presenters responsible for the following submissions were unable to present due to prior engagements, they were as follows:

2.1.1     Defence Force Service Commission

This submission supported the Defence Review and submitted that the defence budget be increased to 2% of GDP. The Defence Review Programme and Consultation Process indicated in Annexure B that it had discussions with the Defence Review Committee on 18 October 2011 and 26 June 2012.

 2.1.2    North West Province Umkhonto we Sizwe

An Imbizo was conducted in the North West Province on 5 May 2012 where this submission (dated 18 May 2012) was presented. Although various issues were raised, little reference was made to Chapter 9 as requested in the Call for submissions.

2.1.3     Institute for Security Studies

Dr Jakkie Cilliers’ article entitled “The 2014 South African Defence Review” dated June 2014 had been submitted. The DRC had two engagements with Institute for Security Studies (ISS) on 7 May 2012 and a Round Table Discussion on 24 and 25 April 2012. Dr Cilliers’ article stated that the most important section in the Review was Chapter 9.

The Institute for Security Studies recommended that:

  • Parliament needed to hold government to its commitment to increase defence expenditure in the short term and to implement steady increases in the medium and long term.
  • Government needed to re-establish a strategic planning capacity in the office of the Presidency to avoid the type of long term planning failures evident with Eskom and the Department of Defence.
  • The DOD should publish a White Paper on Defence every five years.
  • Government should tailor the purpose and use of the SANDF towards its actual tasks as peacekeeping, complemented by growth core concept.
  • Government should introduce legislation that appoints the chief of the SANDF as both head of the Department and accounting officer, with the authority to delegate expenditure and procurement along the chain of command down to unit level.

3.         Findings on received submissions

3.1        The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)

The CSIR supported the Defence Review 2014, and its submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Defence focused on the establishment of a scientific structure within the DOD, headed by a ‘Chief Defence Scientist’. The Chief Defence Scientist would take over duties from the current Defence Research Development Board and would be located in the office of the Secretary for Defence. The duties of the Chief Defence Scientist would include:

  • Advising military leadership (impact on Command and Control); and
  • Coordinating all Defence-related scientific research activities from other Science, Engineering and Technology stakeholders.

3.2        Centers for Democracy of the University of Johannesburg and University of    Cape Town

The submission by the two Universities’ Centre for the Study of Democracy centred on the need for a focus on gender representation within the SANDF and the desire for that to be expressed in the SA Defence Review. Focus was subsequently placed on the need to implement the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 of 2000 (focussing on the role of women in peacekeeping) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Gender Protocol. The submission therefore stated that “gender responsive peace and security provisioning needed to be seen as an imperative within the SANDF.”

The submission made it clear that the SA Defence Review provided little in terms of highlighting the importance of gender equity within the SANDF. Subsequently, the submission proposed a number of insertions into sections of the Defence Review where reference to gender equality could be pronounced. Centre for the Study of Democracy’s submission contained the following matters:

  • Raising the level of awareness on gender matters in the SA Defence Review 2014 and making them more pronounced
  • Writing the SA Defence Review 2014 in such a way that it created sensitivity towards gender imbalances.
  • A call to align the SA Defence Review 2014 with the SADC gender protocol principle of a 50-50 balance of men and women.
  • Focusing on training and recruitment that will encourage women to join the SANDF.
  • Ensuring that targets set for women were achieved.
  • Ensuring gender-sensitive facilities in the SANDF.

The two universities further proposed that additional wording should be incorporated in the following sections of Chapter 9:

  • Point 74 d: ‘which encompasses gender equity’
  • Point 76 c and f: ensure reference to gender balance of 50:50 in all areas of recruitment, including officer recruitment. Consider steps to be taken to attract women into the Defence Force
  • Point 78: include reference to 50 percent of personnel will be women
  • Point 79 b ii: reference to be made to the adaptation of warships to take female personnel
  • Point 81 e, g, h, and i: reference in each of these sub-points to include ‘on a gender equitable basis’
  • Point 83: ‘with a gender balance of 50 percent of men and women in each of the categories’
  • Point 84: reference to the Defence Academy needs to have an equal split between men and women
  • Point 89: with a gender balance of 50 percent of men and women
  • Point 90: again, with a gender balance of 50:50 men and women
  • Point 91 b i and ii: ensure gender-sensitive facilities
  • Point 95: again, ensure 50:50 gender balance
  • Point 105: include a gender perspective. The Force Design Process – all steps need to ensure a gender parity approach
  • Point 111 a: Force structure – which includes equal numbers of men and women
  • Point 117: The Defence Accounting Officer must ensure gender sensitive planning in Force design, structure and facilities
  • Point 124a and 128a: Ensure appropriate facilities for women
  • The following suggests where in the Introduction to the Review there should be additional wording:
  • Point 10, adding ‘the need to take account also of the SADC Gender Protocol’
  • Point 20 d adding ‘always recognising gender parity in personnel involved’
  • Point 28 f: adding: ‘A gender policy is proposed’
  • They were pleased to note that the overarching Defence Principles outlined in Section 29 e, Principle 5, is ‘The Defence Force will strive to be seen as a representative, equitable and gender-aligned national asset’.

3.         The Aerospace Maritime Defence Industries Association (AMD)

AMD is a voluntary association representing manufacturers of defence equipment. In terms of the AMD definitions, defence industries are those industries almost exclusively dependent on sales of defence-related equipment. AMD was actively involved in the SA Defence Review 2014 process with a total of six engagement with the DRC. The AMD submission focused on the need for SANDF technological advancement and the desire to prioritise the acquisition of local technologies to maintain and boost the local defence industry.

AMD supported the current draft of the SA Defence Review 2014, but urged focus on the following issues:

  • Commitment to funding the defence trajectory of the SA Defence Review 2014  (in an effort to sustain/grow the local defence industry)
  • The urgent establishment of one Arms Control Agency (as proposed in Chapter 15 of the SA Defence Review 2014)
  • Alignment of acquisition system to support the South African Defence Industry (SADI). AMD calls for a SADI-friendly acquisition system that favours SADI members with home-market advantages.

4.         Findings on SA Defence Review 2014

During the deliberations the Committee noted following findings:

  • That Milestone 1 calls for the reduction of personnel from the current 97 000 to a total of 72 000, while Milestone 2 calls for increase of personnel to 101 000. How will this reduction be managed and be funded, what system or criteria will be used to determine which soldiers should remain?  
  • With regard to the increase in Milestone 2, how will this be managed? Will the Department call back the individuals declared redundant in Milestone 1 or will the 29 00 new troops be trained for this increase? If so, will there be sufficient funding to manage the process of increasing the number of personnel?
  • Given that the Cabinet approved budget reduction for 2014/15 and 2015/2016, how will this affect the funding of Milestone 1 and Milestone 2 of the SA Defence Review 2014.
  • Is National Treasury willing to release an additional amount of approximately R55 billion to the Department over the MTEF period for the implementation of the Defence Review’s initial milestones?
  • In Chapter 4, mindful of the existing structures of Parliament, the Defence Review’s proposal regarding oversight is the establishment of a single oversight committee named the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Defence (JPCD).This committee will enjoy oversight over a wide range of defence related matters. Based on the separation of powers principle, each sphere of government is supposed to be independent.

For example:

  • Parliament. Has the power to make, amend and repeal law
  • Executive. Has executive authority to execute and enforce rules of law. What the law is and how it should be applied to resolve the dispute.
  • Judiciary. Has judicial authority meaning  that if there is a dispute, it determines 

5.         Conclusion  

The submissions made to the JSCD on 20 February 2015 were supportive of the SA Defence Review 2014 and no major changes were proposed. The CSIR and AMD submissions were particularly supportive and concerns raised by these entities refer rather to the implementation phase of the SA Defence Review 2014 than to the drafting and approval thereof. Matters related to gender sensitivity do highlight a possible need for review of some aspects of the SA Defence Review 2014. This is, however, likely to be technical in nature and should aim to bring the SA Defence Review 2014 in line with current DOD policy on the matter.

The Committee acknowledge the work done by the Defence Review Committee and all parties involved including those who participated during the public hearings.

6.         Committee Recommendations

Having noted the above mentioned findings the Committee resolved on the following:

  • The Department should clarify further on how it intends to perform the process of down or right sizing and how this affect would the members of the SANDF.
  • Give assurance on the affordability of the Defence Review including total costs estimations of each Milestone.
  • With regard to Chapter 4, the Committee recommend that the status quo of present committee system should remain and that no other committee should be formed.
  • That action plans to implement the Defence Review should be sensitive to gender-issues and clear guidelines should be provided on ‘non-discrimination in respect of gender’.


Report to be considered.




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