ATC121018: Report of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence on the Joint Workshop of the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans and the Joint Standing Committee on Defence held in Arniston on Saturday, 19 May 2012, dated 13 September 2012. 2009
REPORT OF THE JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE ON
THE JOINT WORKSHOP OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS
AND THE JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE HELD IN ARNISTON ON SATURDAY, 19
MAY 2012, DATED 13 SEPTEMBER 2012.
The joint workshop forms 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.
(PCODMV Chairperson - ANC), Mr JJ
(JSCD Co-Chairperson - ANC);
JSCD: Mr NB
(ANC); Mr TMH
Mr MC Maine(ANC); Mr LPM Nzimande(ANC); Mr DV
(COPE); Prince MM Zulu (IFP); Mr VM
D Joseph (DA).
PCODMV: Mr N
(ANC); Mr A Mlangeni (ANC); Mr M
(COPE); Mr M
(IFP); Mr P Groenewald (FF+); Mr LM
and Mr S Esau (DA).
Officials in attendance:
( Head of Communications
; Prof Lindy
University); Mr Barry
Wheeler (Corporate Executive Auditor General); Mr
(Business Executive Auditor
( Chief Director Budget Management
); Mr M Cocks (
the CFO); Mr P
of the CFO); Ms Marina
( Senior Procedural
Officer NA Table); Mr
(Chief Director DODMV); Ms
( PLO Ministry DODMV); Ms Swazi
( Director: PLO DOD); Mr
( Communication Parliament); Ms
Kelly ( Study Group Sec PC & JSCD); Ms B
(Com Sec JSCD); Ms T
(Committee Assistant); Mr E
Assistant), and Mr P Daniels (acting JSCD Researcher).
TERMS OF REFERENCE
The workshop was focused on enhancing Committee
members capacity in exercising oversight both over 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
and plan on how to
their mandate and, in the
process, improve 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 of transformation.
OF 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 State of the Nation matters; 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; the interpreting
of strategic plans; and the Budgetary Review and Recommendation process.
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,
, 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.
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 especially to reach
from the President
Sec. 228(5) of the Interim
Constitution stipulates that Parliament may, by resolution, terminate any
employment of the defence force, but such termination shall not affect the
validity of anything done in terms of such employment up to the date of such
The Committee often
received letters very late and was thus never in a position to exercise 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.
The discussion on
these issues revealed that members felt that the sanction provided for in the
case of non-compliance, is not sufficient. The Rule on divulging information as
discussed in closed meetings, should therefore be revised
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 relevant MP.
Vetting was seen as another option to ensure
information security. The Joint Rules makes no
provision for vetting for
members and support staff, as is the case with the JSC on Intelligence
The NA Table
advised that the Rules are
sufficient to protect confidential information.
The matter could
be revisited, and Parliament should decide on whether it is necessary for
members and staff supporting the JSCD to be vetted.
The two 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
This could be
resolved by drafting oversight programmes jointly to avoid clashes.
The slot for two
hours on Thursday mornings is insufficient to cover committee activities, and
more time is required to engage properly with presentations.
The 08h00 slot
often leads to members either being late and the Committee not
to enable decision-making.
recommendation was that the JSCD should investigate alternative slots to be
able to exercise its mandate effectively.
Media: Committee support
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.
This unit 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
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.
Planning, budgeting and reporting cycle
within the Department (
Officials from the
Department reported that the
planning, budgeting and reporting cycle has been aligned to the National
Treasury Framework for strategic plans and the National Treasury Regulations,
in order to meet statutory timelines. It is also informed by the January
, SONA, the National Budget Speech, the Cabinet
in July, the MTEF and Auditor-Generals opinion.
financial and audit information
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 is 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
The advice was to
evaluate monthly and quarterly reports and to rectify them before they are
pronounced upon by the Auditor-General.
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
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.
The JSCD should
investigate alternative slots for meetings to be able to exercise its mandate
The delays in
submitting letters from the President regarding the employment of SANDF members
should be reported to the Leader of Government Business.
duplication, possible new mandates were defined as follows:
Joint Standing Committee on Defence
The JSCD should
consider and report on the employment of the SANDF in
of international obligations or in defence of the country. It should make
recommendations to the Houses on a declaration of a state of defence by the
investigate and make recommendations on all reports submitted to Parliament by
the NCACC, including quarterly and annual reports.
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
It should liaise
with civil society and the military and report on civil-military relations.
exercise oversight over and make recommendations on matters pertaining to
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
should exercise oversight over the Department of Defence and defence-related
entities, including the Defence Force Service Commission.
process all defence-related legislation.
exercise oversight over the budget, strategic plan and annual report of the DOD
and the Department of Military Veterans.
exercise oversight over the strategic plans and annual reports of all
It should exercise
oversight over the
functioning, organisation, structure, staff and policies of the Department.
It should report
on any tasks assigned to it by the House and in terms of statutes.
It should report
to the House on its activities at least once a year.
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
to the relevant Rules of Parliament, especially those pertaining to the membership
of JSCD for this Fourth Parliament.
Derived from the discussions as listed above, the
Joint Standing Committee on Defence recommends that:
The mandates of the two defence
defined as listed above to ensure
and to avoid duplication.
The Joint Rules governing closed
meetings and especially the sanctions in the case of the leaking of
The Joint Rules Committee be
informed to reduce the membership of the Joint standing Committee on Defence,
in order to enable the committee to function optimally.
Report to be considered.
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