Minister of Defence and Military Veterans 2013 Budget Speech & Response by ANC, IFP & DA
Minister of Defence, Hon Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, gave her Budget Vote Speech on the 23 May 2013
Deputy Minister, Thabang Makwetla
Fellow Cabinet Colleagues
Chairpersons of Committees
Secretary of Defence
Chief of the SANDF and the Military Command
Our soldiers watching from the bases
Our honoured guests.
We welcome the opportunity to introduce the first budget vote debate since my appointment as Minister of Defence and Military Veterans.
We dedicate this occasion of our budget vote to the women and men, members of our armed forces who lost their lives in the service of our country during the previous year. May their souls rest in peace, while the memory of their love for their country, should never be lost to us.
The Budget Vote debate of the department takes place against a backdrop of this on-going public discourse on various matters within the defence and security environment.
Whatever the differences in public opinion on these matters, the discourse has created a rare opportunity for our country, the Ministry and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), to pay urgent attention to some of the weaknesses that gave rise to such challenges.
I must say, however that given the rapid nature of developments in our environment in the past two months, the country, including all of us here, has had very little time, to give due appreciation to the sterling work done on a daily basis by members of the SANDF, in ensuring the security and sovereignty of our country.
That despite the recent incidences, that are in the public domain, our men and women in uniform, continue to display selfless and loyal determination in executing the various tasks in service of this great nation.
While some of us have resigned to the despondence and gloom of the moment, the continued selfless dedication and sacrifice of our soldiers should be celebrated and, on an occasion such as this, we should not miss the opportunity to let them know the extent of our indebtedness to them.
The Department of Defence is a unique organisation populated by a special calibre of South Africans, soldiers and civilians alike, who have elected to put their lives on the line, so that we and future generations, can live in conditions of peace. Each one of them is an everyday hero. The country should not be ashamed to associate itself, and show pride in their heroism, even during times of challenges and despondency.
Ms Sussete Gates sits in the public gallery as our invited guest. She, herself is not a soldier, but a civilian who works in our Finance Management Division.
She is in her mid-forties, she is a white South African, she was deployed as the financial officer of our Mission to the C.A.R.
When she and the other contingent of civilians became aware of the imminent attack by the rebels they vacated their accommodation and were relocated to a safer place. During this rush, she had to leave behind the cash contingency supporting the mission amounting to millions of Rands. She knew that should the money be discovered it would fall in the wrong hands and be used to fund rebel activity. At the height of the battle she returned to the base to fetch the money and accounting documents at great risk to her life.
She was confronted by the rebels who wanted to take the bags in which she hid the money. She managed to convince them that she was carrying clothes and hitch hiked with French troops to the airport. She brought back into South Africa the total amount of 3 million rand in foreign currency.
Another of her colleagues, Corporal Nkoana, who is also here showed bravery that goes beyond the call of duty in Bangui.
During the heat of battle, she volunteered to go out and assist with casualties sustained in the field. Whilst returning to the base the convoy was ambushed by Seleka rebels. Without vehicles and maps to guide them to base, 16 members were cut off from their company and realised that their hiding place was surrounded by rebels. They were behind enemy lines. Corporal Nkoana, a medic, took the lead and decided on the best way out of a potential ambush situation. For two long days and nights, they moved under her command and guidance, carrying casualties of war. She kept the commanders informed of their position and situation at all times. Her actions saved all 16 of our soldiers including two who were shot.
She has earned the nickname of “human navigator” for her role in guiding her colleagues during the escape.
Ms Gates and Corporal Nkoana represent all the finest qualities of the new SANDF, they are heroines and true patriots, who displayed loyalty to their country and fellow servicemen and women, three of whom are also in this House with us today.
The challenges that we have debated in public and in this House regarding our defence and security environment have brought forth many lessons and pointed to key interventions that need to be made.
In particular, these challenges were starkly exposed following our mission to Bangui, the accidents in our aviation environment and the recent unauthorised use of the Waterkloof Airforce Base for private purposes.
In the aftermath of these events, the department has had to conduct deep introspection and review, the result of which will have serious implications for the work and organisation of our armed forces, particularly during this financial year.
The finalisation of the Defence Review has already taken into account some of the weaknesses in our design, tactical planning, legislation and operational requirements that led to these challenges.
The CSANDF and the Military Command Council have also conducted an assessment of some of these weaknesses and determined the interventions that need to be made in the immediate, short term and long term planning.
The lessons drawn, in particular in relation to the CAR, are already assisting us in the planning, force preparation, and deployment to current and future operations.
Following the report of the Directors-General on the investigation of the use of the Waterkloof Airforce Base for private purpose, the SANDF is conducting a review aimed at strengthening weaknesses identified in command and control, policy and delegations, as well as the standard operating procedure governing the use and access to all our facilities.
Although the public has, and will continue to have access to various of our facilities, including Military Bases, these need to be regulated in accordance with the required level of sensitivity and security.
Chairperson and Honourable Members,
The DOD and the SANDF will continue to do their work in pursuance of constitutionally mandated obligations.
Given the current gaps that exist in relation to funding, structures, human resources and capability, the SANDF is developing a fully integrated approach to the defence of the RSA, our international obligations and its ordered tasks.
This process, informed and aligned to the current defence review process, involves a zero based approach to the needs of the SANDF, against its current resourcing gaps.
South Africa’s national interest is always central to the fulfilment of the defence mandate.
Our continent has enough resources that can be shared for common prosperity, security and human development. The biggest threat to the ability of the continent to harness this potential, is instability, poor governance and war. The situation of war has made it possible for our resources to be plundered for the benefit of other economies outside the continent. The continued plundering of these resources is a direct threat to our future food security and survival. It is for this reason, that we will continue our engagements in support of peace and stability in the continent.
South Africa has consistently adhered to its pledges to MONUSCO with the deployment of its various capabilities in support of the mission in the Eastern DRC. We have also pledged to contribute a battalion to the envisaged intervention force that is being established.
As part of our support to the region’s maritime security, we have also renewed our mandate for Operation Copper in the Mozambican Channel to deter piracy activities, and ensure the security of our exclusive economic zone.
These operations will continue in this financial year with an amount of R585 million allocated for the SADC Maritime Security Strategy.
Fellow Honourable members,
The Defence Review has been completed and submitted for Cabinet’s approval. Although I do not wish to pre-empt the final outlook of the Defence Review Report after its consideration by Cabinet, I need to indicate that we are preparing to align our planning activities to accommodate the implementation of its recommendations. This may require that some reprioritisation and adjustment be made to both our plans and financial projections for this year.
We need more frequent reviews to respond to the pace of technological advances within the military sphere and ever changing geo-political environments going forward.
I wish to thanks members of the Defence Review Committee who were ably led by the Chairman Roelf Meyer on their sterling work.
An important part of ensuring the sustainability of the SANDF and its capabilities is the need for us to take care of the defence force’s most important asset, our soldiers.
Key in this effort, is the need to ensure that the conditions of service for our soldiers are improved in recognition of the special nature of service they provide.
In this regard, I am pleased to announce that the remuneration structure for the members of the permanent Defence Force Service Commission has been finalised and submitted to Cabinet. Once approved, the appointment of permanent members can proceed in June 2013.
I would like to thank the members of the Interim Commission, some of whom are members of Parliament, for their service over the past four years.
Given the strategic impact of defence on national security, it has become important that an effective grievance procedure, which enjoys the confidence of soldiers, is developed and implemented.
In May 2012, the first Military Ombud was appointed to establish a mechanism to investigate and resolve complaints of members.
I recently instructed the Military Ombud, in terms of the Act, to conduct an investigation into the allegations of abuse and assault of recruits at the Oudtshoorn Infantry School. I have since received the initial report and directed the CSANDF to implement its recommendations.
Honourable Members I want to emphasise, that the pursuit for a well-balanced and disciplined force is absolute and essential for the success of the defence force.
The military is expected to develop capable leaders with a high level of discipline and sense of duty.
The defence force actively recruits young people through the Military Skills Development System (MSDS) and University Reserve Training Programme.
We seek to increase partnerships with tertiary institutions to train defence force members and recruit talented students, especially in technical fields. Recently we have concluded a training contract for our members with the Russian Federation, as part of our efforts to expand our international training partnership. This will cover some of the essential skills, particularly the training of our pilots.
After consultation with the Department of Public Works, the DOD has now established a Works Formation responsible for the execution of planned departmental maintenance projects.
The SANDF has so far deployed its members in four provinces as part of its border security operations. The deployment along the border has contributed significantly to Government’s efforts of combating crime.
I am concerned that despite expressed commitment to improve the landward defence capability, and despite funds being allocated in the past, very little progress has been made. This year, we have ensured that decisions on key projects are finalised and we are currently at contracting stages for the acquisition of various landward defence capabilities.
Members must remember that, just before the dawn of democracy many of our capabilities were sold off into private hands, resulting in some of the capability gaps we have today. The current government has now inherited the responsibility to correct this gap, while those responsible for it shout from the sidelines.
We are confident, however that during this financial year, the process of consolidation of the needs of the services, as led by the CSANDF will address the sustainability of our capability.
In November 2011, Cabinet approved the acquisition of VVIP aircraft. We have since consulted with National Treasury and funding has now been approved for the acquisition of this capability in this financial year.
The Defence Budget Vote for the 2013/14 financial year amounts to R40,243 billion. This is equal to 1,1% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 3,8% of total government expenditure.
Honourable members and colleagues,
The support for a viable and competitive defence industry is an integral part of our mandate. It is a matter of concern that over the years South Africa is gradually losing its influential position as one of the industry leaders in defence innovation. It is for this reason that the department must play a direct role in the restructuring of the defence industry to ensure that it focuses primarily on the requirements of the SANDF.
We will continue to give attention to Government’s commitment to improve the lives of our military veterans. As part of this, I have decided to appoint an intervention support team to assist the DMV in creating the systems required to effectively roll out the socio-economic benefits for our veterans. These systems are urgently required given the fact that an amount of R300 million has been provided for socio-economic benefits for this financial year. The Deputy Minister will elaborate further on matters affecting military veterans.
Let me assure Honourable Members and fellow South Africans that despite the challenges of the moment, we will never allow our defence capabilities so essential to the protection of our country to be eroded. In order to achieve this we need the support of all South Africans including those sitting in this House.
We do so informed by the conviction which we all share that the defence force is our national asset and should be protected.
I thank you.
Speech by Hon Richard Mdakane during the National Assembly Budget Vote Debate on Sport and Recreation
Topic : Political Budget Overview
The Honourable Chairperson
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers
Sport Fraternity and Distinguished Guests
Thank you, Hon Chairperson, for giving us this opportunity to participate in this budget vote 20 of Sport and Recreation to debate progress made in the sporting sector.
The face of Sport and Recreation has changed for the better under the ANC government. In this regard the ANC government has made progressive achievements since 2009 and has removed many barriers to entry in sport.
In its 53rd Conference at Mangaung, the ANC reconfirmed its commitment towards ensuring that we build a socially cohesive society by emphasising that sport plays an important role in promoting, community development, social cohesion, and sharpening of the minds of children in schools.
Today`s budget vote will explore the path from the racially divided past which was inherited from apartheid to the one which seeks to redress the legacy of apartheid through development of the first National Sport and Recreation Plan.
The ANC government has acknowledged that there is still a need to ensure the organisation and development of all sporting codes in the country, in this regard we welcome the adoption of the new sports and recreation plan which seeks to ensure the development and growth of the sports sector and the welfare of the sporting fraternity.This National Sports and Recreation Plan, is a binding agreement that was initiated by the Department. Its main function is to say here are all the challenges in sport and here are the possible solutions.
The goal is to pave a clear path to a successful sporting sector where all sporting codes - football, netball - can succeed and sport can play a meaningful role in improving people`s lives.
The Department has tabled its Annual Performance Plan with regard to the 2013/14 Financial year and has indicated that the National Development Plan is phased in the departmental programmes.
The Department has found that the Sports Plan requires resources in order for it to be implemented. Keep in mind that the objectives in the Plan were put together by multiple stakeholders such as the federations who are the custodians of Sports. The Committee`s role is to conduct oversight on the Department to ensure that the departmental strategic plans are implemented in line with the National Development Plan.
However, we must say that as the Committee, we appreciate the innovativeness of the Department in finding alternative sources of income to continue the road to transformation. There are a number of exciting programmes which are linked to Recreation such as modified sport, cycle for life and recreation clubs just to mention a few.
These activities are intended to provide leisure and recreation opportunities to all citizens of this country regardless of age, gender, and race. The Department`s achievements are both on the field but also within our society. Our consistent ability to host major tournaments as evidenced early this year when we hosted African Cup of Nations. We have also witnessed the South African Olympic Team`s wonderful performance and achievement at the London 2012 Olympic Games. This has been hailed the best ever Olympic Games for the Country since the ANC enabled South Africa`s readmission to the international sport community.Such tournaments have a positive impact on social cohesion because they create a common identity, a common cause and establish common values among South Africans.
Therefore, Honourable Chairperson, it is against this background that we evaluate the work of the Department and note its linkages to greater levels of transformation through the National Sport and Recreation Plan and the National Development Plan.Transformation of some sporting codes in our country is painfully slow. This has to be addressed with the necessary speed. There is absolutely no reason why sport cannot transform.
Today`s budget vote highlights what has been achieved and what still need to be done.
The ANC government has always campaigned for a fresh perspective and a drive on transformation, a perspective that talks about equality, unity, access and excellence at the centre of national discourse. We have always known that it will take time to eradicate the legacy of the past. The establishment of an Eminent Persons Group, under the leadership of Prof. Somadoda Fikeni, is a welcome move which will speed up the issue of transformation in sport. The Minister of Sport and Recreation established the Eminent Persons group in order to fast track the pace of transformation in sport, particularly in federations who deliver sports.It will also develop a standard approach to monitoring and evaluating organizational capacity and commitment to thorough-going transformation. Many sport federations have signed the Transformation Charter at the Indaba of 2011 and have promised to deliver on its mandate. The Committee`s oversight role will ensure that there is meaningful implementation of the Charter and to evaluate the willingness of the Federations to transform sport in our society. The Transformation scorecard is also a welcome tool, to trace the pace of transformation. A collective and committed approach for the Federations to be more inclusive is very highly welcome to achieving the National Development Plan.
It is the responsibility of this government to fundamentally change the status quo and ensure that South Africa has national teams and amenities that are a true reflection of the national demographics.
The 53rd National Conference of the ANC resolved on this issue that the utilisation of transformation charters and score-cards to transform Sporting franchises`, Sporting Councils, Federations and the High Performance Centres must focus on local talent development, this includes targeting developing sporting facilities that are historically not available in other parts of the country, e.g. swimming pools Hence, we urge the private sector to support sport activities with funding for greater transformation of sport federations.
National Lottery, makes a provision of about 22% which is used for Sport and Recreation purposes. It will be important that this provision is made to enhance the objectives of the Sport Plans. Lottery board needs to continue to engage all relevant stakeholders in advancing this vision in order to speed up the allocations which it makes to sporting bodies.Funding is generally a scarce resource for the development of sport; whilst there is funding for high performance although not enough, there is need for more funding at development levels. Perhaps we need to revise the funding model in order to support the development of sport.
Liquor companies are some of the major sponsors of sport all over the world because sport, in general, is underfunded. As we all know, sport relies heavily on sponsorships, some of which lie in the liquor industry and in various other industries such as clothing, food, and so forth. Sport sponsorship is intended to fund sport and not to promote substance abuse. In fact, we think that`s obvious that in order to become a successful sport person, substance abuse must be avoided at all costs.
The Department has done a good job of advancing anti-doping programmes and healthy living as a core value of what it means to be a sports person. In fact, if the Department is to contribute to increased employment levels by 2030 as per the National Development, then sport has to be funded accordingly.
But, Chairperson, this is an on-going debate with other stakeholders. I hope that we`ll reach a solution that will benefit everyone involved.Growing the number of people who play sport is fundamental to the National Development Plan and Sport Plan. Hence, the Department will allocate almost half of the budget to the Mass Participation Programme this year.
The Committee noted that over the Medium Term, the aim for the 2013/14 financial year is to encourage active lifelong participation in sport by delivering sustainable sport and recreation programmes to 25 000 South Africans annually, with an emphasis on women, youth, persons with disabilities, senior citizens and rural communities. We appreciate the steady increase of participants in the programme to more than 28000 people in 2011/12. With the expansion of the programme and more funds to it, more can still be done.
The increase of the budget from R529m to R553m is indicative of the commitment to transform sport by putting resources where they are most needed. The School Sport programme is such a complementary programme in schools. However, since the signing of a memorandum with the Department of Basic Education with regard to cooperation, little progress has been seen, if any, with regard to the development of Physical Education as an independent learning area which should lay the foundation for the development of future sport-specific skills.
Whilst the School Sport programme continues to be rolled out in schools, more opportunities of developing learners can be enhanced through Physical Education. We request that these two Departments should share ideas and information about the way forward regarding funding the School Sport programme.
The Committee is pleased that the both Departments are talking to each other about how to resolve this situation.
3. Good Governance in Sport
Honourable Chairperson, sport is a multi-million rand industry. It is important that the federations should establish sound business practices. The revenue generated from broadcasting and media rights are the main sources of funds for many federations.
Indeed on many occasions federations do go out to source their own funding in order to support their programmes. This should be encouraged across all federations.
But we must emphasise to the Department that it is disturbing to hear that there are certain federations who do not have funds to conduct their activities. The question of the private sector then comes into question.
It is even more worrying to hear that funds have been misused by some federations, and which brings into question the fiduciary duties of the board members of such federations.
We have noted the recent controversial events in Sport in our country relating to the federations such SAFA, Cricket, Athletics, SANABO just to mention but a few which have brought closer the scrutiny of what is the government role in Sport and Recreation matters.
The National Sport and Recreation Act (1998) requires the Department of Sport and Recreation to oversee the development and management of sport and recreation in South Africa.
We have noted that through the Sports Plan, the Department will provide the framework for relationships between the department and its external clients.
In many instances, we noted that government`s hands were tied due to the limited provision, in the Act, to allow for scrutiny and prompt intervention in matters of the federation by the Minister.
It is anticipated that the Department will provide all the necessary information to enable the committee to process the Bill, which will effectively amongst other things, empower the Minister to intervene in resolving some of the disputes within the sport federations.
4. Access to Sport and Recreation and Support
The Portfolio Committee will, this year, continue to conduct its oversight visits to Provinces. During these visits we will examine the state of the Sport and Recreation facilities previously disadvantaged communities including programmes. We are aware that facilities in some areas still remain a problem.
It is important for the Portfolio Committee to understand where these are and also share in the successes of those projects that have been completed successfully.
The experiences of our oversight visits to Gauteng, Kwazulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape have sharpened our scrutiny of the FIFA 2010 legacy projects that municipalities have undertaken. In our efforts to see these projects during our oversight, we discovered some irregularities We welcome the seriousness with which the Department has treated this matter and we will continue to monitor these developments.
We have requested from the FIFA 2010 Legacy Trust a list of all legacy projects that have been undertaken, completed or not, so as to continue with the monitoring during the oversights visits.
Chairperson, Sports and Recreation is consolidating itself and has received a clean audit from the Auditor-General, which must be applauded by this House considering the challenges it has with getting funding.
Ultimately, I wish to acknowledge the positive contributions made by my colleagues in the Committee, honourable members. I also wish to appreciate the support given by the political parties represented here and the parliamentary staff of the committee. Indeed we have dedicated and committed servants in this Parliament.
The struggle to transform and develop sport in our country continues and we need to encourage more sport activism in our communities.
The ANC supports the budget vote.
I thank you
Speech by Hon Mnyamezeli Booi during the Budget Vote on Defence and Military Veterans
Topic: Defence Policy; Defence Budget; and Defence Entities
Honourable Minister and the Team
Members of Parliament
Guests in the Gallery
May I once more take this opportunity to dip my hat in honour of the fallen heroes who fell while defending our national interest in particular and the African agenda in general. In particular comes to mind those who fell in the Central African Republic.It is at a time like this that we have to explain truthfully to the nation the policy behind the actions we undertake. In the midst of all factual misrepresentations, fabrications and blatant misinformation the call is even firmer. It would seem that facts and truth are not enough to direct some who incessantly persist on the wrong path. However we remain resolute in our determination to combat all logical fallacies with the force of truth.
Without ado I should mention that the primary role of the SANDF is to defend South Africa against external military aggression. In this regard deployment in an internal policy capacity is limited to exceptional circumstances and subject to parliamentary approval and safeguards.Defence objectives as outlined by the Department`s Strategic Plan are three and include the defence mandate as per section 200 (2) of the Constitution, that of protecting South Africa, its sovereignty, its territorial integrity, its interest and its people in accordance with the Constitution and principles of international law.
Let me remind you Honourable Members, that there are two main categories of international law in relation to armed conflict, the first being the law against war and the second in law. The former relates to aggression and the right to resort to force while the latter refers to an international humanitarian law, which governs the conduct of hostilities. In this regard the main rule against war is contained in Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter which provides that `all member states shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state`. The charter further obliges member states to settle international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security and justice are not endangered.
The SANDF: Midwife of Peace in Africa
Kwame Nkrumah, the former President of Ghana said:
`African unity is above all a political kingdom which can only be gained by political means. The social and economic development of Africa will come only with political freedom, not the other way round...It is unity alone that can weld us into an effective force, capable of creating our own progress and making our valuable contribution to world peace.
In independent Africa we are already re-experiencing the instability which occurred under colonial rule. The movement of the masses of the people of Africa for freedom from that kind of rule was not only a revolt against the conditions it imposed. Our people supported us in our fight for independence because they believed African governments could cure the ills of the past in a way which could never have been accomplished under colonial rule`.
I want to quote the Minister of State Security in his 2013 budget speech when he outlined to the nation the kinds of challenges that are facing Africa and require South Africa`s intervention through peace keeping missions and other such interventions utilising amongst others the SANDF. The Minister stated the following:
`Global security remains stable but fragile due to pockets of conflicts in some regions of the world. One of the most noticeable trends since 2012 is the increase in the threat of terrorism in Africa.
In West Africa, the destabilising activities of extremist or militant groups such as al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Boko Haram in Nigeria, and the Tuareg Militia in Mali attest to this. In North Africa, the proliferation of small arms, availability of well-trained fighters, weakened regional security structures. Al-Shabaab is determined to wage a jihad against countries that are part of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
Central Africa has experienced a resurgence of instability as a result of the conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic. We are concerned about the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic. As a nation, we may not turn a blind eye on the evolving humanitarian crisis. The primary objective is to urgently restore security in order to allow inflows of humanitarian assistance and the economic reconstruction. The most urgent task is the cantonment of the soldiers, screening them and integrating those who qualify`.
There is irrefutable evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt as I just put and will continue to do so that Africa is under new and old forms of threats seeking its economic instability and by extension ad infinitum dependence. The manipulative hand of erstwhile colonial masters continues to expose itself in the subversion of meaningful independence of former colonies through employment of insurgency tactics to depose assertive and anoint obsequious leadership.
South Africa has been active in the formation of the SADC Brigade as part of the overall African Standby Force (ASF), whose mandate is to provide the AU with a rapid reaction capability consisting of five regionally based brigades. Our defence policy has been evinced in the manner in which we in the past have undertaken peace keeping missions.
In Burundi and the DRC South Africa generally followed a negotiated strategy in which it has functioned as a mediator, followed by a military commitment during the implementation phase. In this case, the SANDF was used to broker peace agreements under extremely volatile circumstances. However I should mention that our government will not depart from a multilateral track even as complexity of peace keeping missions increases.
Operation Boleas in 1998 in Lesotho involved the use of force and mediation tactics to negotiate a peaceful settlement. Boleas demonstrated that military interference will not be accepted in the SADC region. However our posture has always been that disputes shall be resolved peacefully such that force would only be used when diplomatic options have been exhausted and direct South African interest is at stake.
According to the statement by the Deputy Minister of International Relational Relations and Cooperation, the Hon Ebrahim in his 22nd May, 2013 presentation to the Portfolio Committee:
`Significant progress has been achieved in the DRC over the past decade. The local and regional peace processes initiated at the time laid the foundation for relative peace and stability in large parts of the country. However, the DRC has continued to suffer from recurring cycles of conflict and persistent violence by armed groups, both Congolese and foreign. The consequences of this violence have almost been devastating. Acts of violence and serious violations of human rights are used regularly and almost daily as weapons of war. Displacement figures are among the highest in the world and hover near two million people. This happens notwithstanding the presence of the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission (MONUSCO). Despite these challenges, the recent crisis has created a window of opportunity to address the root causes of conflict and put an end to the recurring cycle of violence`.
In a situation such as the one I have quoted from the presentation above South Africa cannot watch from the side-lines without undertaking to intervene. In the DRC situation amongst others, the Department of Defence and Military Veterans is at the centre of South Africa`s assistance to the DRC and assists with training and integration of various security establishments through demobilisation, disarmament and integration of militia members to civilian life and formal security structures. In this regard South Africa is charged with an important task of developing the DRC`s military doctrine.
It would be remiss of me to omit commending the Department in being awarded an unmodified audit opinion for the financial year 2011/12. This kind of success is noteworthy as it is for the first time since its inception that the department has been awarded such a favourable opinion. I do not want to count back before 1994 as at the time the activities were such that an AG`s opinion would have been nothing more than a formal practice bereft of any material significance for that inherently corrupt and counter-insurgent department. Without going through all the weaknesses pointed out by the Auditor-General (AG) when assessing the measurability and reliability of performance information as stated in the SANDF 2013/14 Annual Performance Plan (APP); I will highlight one and outline two out of the five recommendations from the AG`s report aforesaid.
The AG identifies internal control deficiency in terms of leadership as according to the report, management did not have established policies and procedures to enable and support understanding and execution of internal control objectives, processing and reporting responsibilities.I want to urge that the AG`s recommendations receive due attention and get accorded appropriate consideration. The recommendations include the development of technical indicator descriptions for lower level information which forms the basis for the calculated performance information in the performance report. Secondly the AG also recommends that clear measurement tools be established for each indicator and that they should be clearly documented in data sheets and standard operating procedures.
Armaments Corporation of South Africa (ARMSCOR)
According to its Corporate Plan 2012/13 - 2014/15 Armscor intends being the premier technology and Acquisition Agency for the South African Government and governments of the SADC Region. It thus aims to meet the defence materiel, defence technology, research, development, analysis, tests and evaluation requirements of the Department or any other organ of state on request or any sovereign state on agreement, effectively, efficiently and economically. Armscor may with the approval of the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans exploit such commercial opportunities as may arise out of its duty to acquire defence materiel or to manage technology projects. It may also procure commercial materiel on behalf of any organ of state at the request of the organ of state in question.
We note with encouragement that according to the 2011/12 Annual Report both Gerotek and Alkantpan test facilities reported increased international business as several international companies performed weapons-system tests at these facilities. Armscor should however strengthen its managerial depth and broaden its understanding of its mandate. Castle Control Board (the Board). According to its Annual Performance Plan, the mission of the Board is being a service-oriented public entity, striving to optimise its tourism potential and accessibility to the public and to preserve and protect its cultural and military heritage. Amongst its values are restoration and preservation of the dignity of the military in society; and national unity.
The objectives of the Board are in the main to preserve and protect the military and cultural heritage of the Castle of Good Hope, to optimise tourism potential of the Castle, and to optimise accessibility to the Castle by the public.The Board needs to strengthen its research capability and its Corporate Governance should be aligned characteristics of good governance in the King III Report, which include accountability and social responsibility.
It does not assist to deny the fact that South Africa has a critical role to play in the dynamic continental situation with all its threats. There are many who seek perpetual subjugation of Africa and her peoples for the continued exploitation of her resources at the expense of her children. The African National Congress shall never let that happen under its watch.
I thank you.
Speech by Hon Nomfunelo Mabedla during the Debate on Defence and Military Veterans
Topic: SANDF`s Role in Peace Keeping Missions; and the South African Air Force
Honourable Minister and the Team
Honourable Members of Parliament
Guests in the Gallery
Let me appreciate the opportunity to stand before you and the nation on this remarkable day in our Parliamentary calendar, a day set aside to reflect even critically yet positively on the operations and strategy of the Department of Defence and Military Veterans and the budget thereof. As a point of departure I should like to assert an immutable fact that South Africa is an integral part of the African continent. By this I mean that our fate Honourable Members is inextricable from that of the African continent. This recognition has led the ANC to stand ready at all material times to participate in ensuring that there abides peace and stability in the SADC region in particular and the continent in general.I will also address this House on the South African Air Force, and I want to make it categorically clear that I have neither desire nor inclination to draw any correlation no matter how tenuous between peace keeping missions and the capacity of the South African Air Force. My reflections on the South African Air Force are purely impelled by the budgetary factors attending the function. I shall therefore make a call for the adequate resourcing of the function.
As I make a call for the resourcing of the Air Force function in particular I shall in the same vein point our without fear of contradiction that external to the framework of our negotiated settlement, need still arises to deepen transformation of the Defence Force. By transformation I shall be referring to the formal and substantive components thereof, because it is our conviction that there is always a dialectical linkage between form and substance. Substance exists in a commensurate form as much as form shapes and comports substance in its particular and generic characteristics.
Peace Keeping Missions
Our posture in terms of peace keeping missions is underpinned by the Freedom Charter`s unequivocal clarion call for South Africa to strive to maintain world peace and the settlement of all international disputes by negotiation - not war. The Freedom Charter further asserts that peace and friendship amongst all our people shall be secured by upholding the equal rights, opportunities and status of all. To illustrate the point I make Honourable Members, allow me to take you down memory lane. When the ANC took up arms against the recalcitrant and belligerent apartheid regime in 1961, it did so because it had to make a choice whether to fight or perish. Its orientation even as it consolidated the armed struggle as one of the pillars of the National Democratic Struggle in Morogoro in 1969, has always been to save lives not to destroy them. The ANC has even before the abolition of the death penalty by the Constitutional Court owed to the entrenchment of the right to life in the Constitution, believed that the right to life is sacrosanct and non-derogable.
This is antithetical to say the least to the erstwhile SADF whose mission and force design was to quash the activities of liberation movements in general and the ANC in particular. It is trite to mention that the SADF became a destabilising force in the region in particular and the continent in general as it sowed anarchy and misery throughout our beloved continent more so in the frontline states. I want to assure South Africans particularly and Africans generally that when South Africa undertakes peace missions she does so in order bring stability to the region and continent. She seeks only prosperity and peace for the African people.
In this the 50th Anniversary of the OAU we pledge ourselves to the tenets of that august organisation of the peoples of Africa to work towards the realisation of a united and prosperous Africa. We have contributed and shall continue to contribute to the democratisation of Africa and we shall never countenance any form of undemocratic change of government in our region and continent. South Africa shall always heed the fact that the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states and the commitment to the peaceful resolution of conflict are enshrined in the UN Charter and the Constitutive Act of the African Union and bind all member states.
I should also mention that South Africa`s resolve to promote peace, security and development on the continent is demonstrated through unambiguous policy statements, the maintenance and employment of a credible crisis response capability, the prepositioning of forces and the contribution of the South African forces to various forms of peace missions. Consequently, in appropriate circumstances, South Africa makes elements of its Defence Force available to peace support operations of the United Nations and African Union, employs armed force to assist other countries faced with aggression and conducts internationally agreed upon constabulary (or law enforcement) operations.
The South African Air Force
The South African Air Force, as the major component of the joint Air Defence capability, is required to remain robust and relevant within the evolving nature of warfare and spectrum of conflict so as to achieve a favourable air situation thereby allowing freedom of movement for own forces in the air, on the land and at sea. This implies that the South African Air Force must be balanced and technologically advanced to meet the African battle space.
The South African Air Force is thus required to provide a resilient integrated air defence function that delivers appropriate firepower, ensures defence mobility and enables the flow of defence information. This requires a diverse air defence capability, suited to varying operational environments, that is sufficiently agile and integrated to anticipate eventualities and react swiftly to contingencies. An effective air defence support capability is required to sustain deployments over time and distance.
Let me further highlight that the future air defence operations will amongst others require coordination of all air defence assets; balanced real time situational awareness to include target acquisition and battlefield assessment in defined area of responsibility; a modular tactical and flexible force, deployable at short notice across the full spectrum of conflict; a night operating capability in all weather and light conditions; and lastly participation in the information warfare environment.
Conscious of the obtaining conditions and the provenance thereof we again urge that the Defence Review process should be concluded with haste to ensure the resourcing of the function to exhibit characteristics more or less as those I have outlined before. In this regard there is a necessity for a force design and Defence foot print that accords with the Defence Review Strategy, again I should urge that the finalisation process be expedited.
Transformation in the Defence Force
As I indicated before in this speech the posture and force-design of the SADF was of a counter-insurgency military organisation, in other words the SADF was organised to fight against freedom fighters. As a consequence its footprint represented such a type of military organisation. Having been bequeathed such an ill-suited organisation, the ANC government has made significant strides to transform it. Through the integration of all statutory and non-statutory forces to an extent the ANC has addressed the demographic representativeness of the SANDF, more especially at the top and bottom strata of its organogram. More needs to be done to transform the middle stratum of the SANDF. The ANC government has to a significant extent transformed and continues to transform the SANDF substantively to exhibit a national footprint that accords with the constitutional mandate to secure the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country and its people. The SANDF should indeed be strengthened even more to when necessary defend South Africa against aggression; protect its people; protect South Africa`s sovereignty; protect its territorial integrity; and protect its national interests and critical infrastructure.
In an era of globalisation and interdependency, many threats to peace and stability, such as global poverty, climatic change or terrorism, cannot be effectively addressed unilaterally or by individual states. States must collaborate in the pursuit and promotion of common security ideals and in defence against threats to security.
Since South Africa`s security is inextricably linked to that of the African continent and the developing world, South Africa must amongst others, promote peace and security through the peaceful resolution of conflicts, and remain committed to the resolution of conflict in terms of the UN charter and international and customary international law and, as far as possible employ military force within a multinational framework.
The ANC supports the budget for its endeavour to transform and capacitate the Defence Force.
Speech by Hon Nelson Diale during the Budget Vote Debate on Defence and Military Veterans
23 May 2013
Topic: Military Veterans, Military Skills Development System; and Military Heath Services
Honourable Minister and the Team
Our Esteemed Guests
The National Development Plan urges us to build a Capable Developmental State, and the ANC has always espoused a caring government. I therefore suggest to you today that a developmental state should not only possess the capacity to care but should demonstrate such care in action. Our government is a caring government that seeks to build a better life for all our people. Better life has to do with high life expectancy, a broad and deeper skills base, and equitable distribution of wealth.
As the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee has aptly noted that the Constitution compels South Africans not only to recognise the injustices of the past also to honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land. While concurring I however must without fear of contradiction assert that when the ANC resolved in its 52nd National Conference in Polokwane to establish a Ministry for Military Veterans, it was not simply complying with the Constitution, but was demonstrating its character as a caring organisation. It is not unheard of for Military Veterans to be honoured by the people whose cause they fought to advance. It is however unheard of that military veterans; upon returning to the land of their birth after risking life and limb to liberate their people are relegated to the fringes of society and left to sink into deep poverty. Military Veterans are heroes who should be celebrated. I therefore must say as compelled by the truth behind the force of speech that, only racial prejudice can impel any individual to adopt the maxim `every veteran for himself and the devil takes the hind most`. Again I must caution that despite our negotiated settlement our freedom was never handed to us on silver platter; we fought for this freedom; indeed we lost many of our comrades in the fight for this freedom.
It is important Honourable Members that our Defence force is not only rejuvenated but that it contributes to the skilling of our young people in order amongst others to reverse the high rate of youth unemployment. In this regard the Military Skills Development System (MSDS) is a vehicle that continues to be used to transfer skills to our youth and to rejuvenate our Defence Force.
In line the Polokwane Resolution that I alluded to earlier, Cabinet introduced the then Military Veterans Bill which this Parliament passed and the President assented to. However the current Military Veterans Act 18 of 2011 cannot be implemented for want of regulations. I will return to this point later in my speech. Let me focus for a while on the contents of the Act as I deem them to be critical for this debate. The Act defines a military veteran as `any South African citizen who rendered military service to any of military organisations, statutory and non-statutory, which were involved on all sides of the South African Liberation War from 1960 to 1994; served in the Union Defence Force before 1961; or became a member of the new South African National Defence Force after 1994 and has completed his or her military training and no longer performs military service, and has not been dishonourably discharged from that military organisation or force...`
What I seek to do through this definition is to disabuse you of the deliberate misrepresentation by some, of the purpose of our government in putting in place a measure to recognise and honour military veterans in life and remembering them in death for their sacrifices. The misrepresentation I refer to is that the ANC seeks to appease its own comrades at the expense of the fiscus. As you have heard first hand from the Act, our government has no intention either overt or covert to discriminate against any legitimate beneficiary and subject of the Act. It seeks only to demonstrate its care for the welfare of those who sacrificed their lives and potential futures for the realisation of our democracy, soon to be two decades thereof. Accordingly the Act is underpinned by principles of honouring sacrifices made by military veterans in the service of or for their or their role in the democratisation of South Africa. Pursuant to this principle the Department has honoured the first generation of military veterans with medals becoming of citizens of their eminence. The intention is to cascade the roll out of honours to subsequent generations, we support this gesture as it accords with the letter, spirit, and purport of the Constitution and beyond a reasonable doubt evinces the character of the African National Congress.
The other key principle underscoring the Act is that compensation which a military veteran may be entitled for disablement constitutes reparation and is, despite any provision to the contrary contained in any law, not a welfare benefit. In this regard the aim is thus to improve the quality of life of military veterans and their dependants. In line with improving the quality of lives of military veterans, the Department undertakes to ensure that military veterans and their dependants have access to education, and are provided with health and wellness support. The Department also undertakes to ensure the participation of military veterans in the mainstream economy through BBBEE; and participation in rural development and land reform.
Let me now return to the point I made earlier. The fact of the matter is that the Act has been crafted in a broadly overarching manner thus rendering it inoperable, void of enabling regulations. We are encouraged by the fact that regulations have been tabled and as Members of Parliament promise to ensure that we do our part without undue delay to expedite the process of passing that delegated legislation. We are conscious of the fact that people`s lives and welfare depend on the implementation of the Act and again pledge ourselves to do all in our power to ensure that the military veterans of our struggle receive the due honours and recognition. Military veterans must be honoured in life and remembered in death for their sacrifices on behalf of the nation. The Military Skills Development System
The low skills base is one of the causes of youth unemployment in our country. The MSDS is a strategic means for force rejuvenation as a component of the Human Resource Renewal Strategy. It is a fact of life that people tend to age with the passing of time and that with age comes the loss of agility. In order to keep our Defence Force agile and ready to engage on all fronts it becomes fundamental that the force component is kept youthful through requisite addition of young people. MSDS therefore endeavours to attract young people into the scarce skills areas of the SANDF. Many young people acquire skills such as artisan through the MSDS programme while others have through the programme been trained as flight pilots. However there are two limitations that attend the programme which should inform planning. The first limitation is that the Defence Force does not have unlimited space to enrol MSDS trainees, therefore the number which may be taken on board within a given time is finite.
The other challenge is that while the Defence Force can offer and perform certain forms of training to the limited number I referred to, it neither can on its own offer all critical skills necessary nor possess the space and capacity to absorb all those who have been trained. Thus it becomes critical that in order to overcome such limitations the Department strengthens partnership with Higher Education and Research Institutions for the training of new members; and to also partner other government departments for possible post training placement.
Military Health Services
Beside ordinary ailments that befall even civilians, soldiers often impair their health in combat and other missions. The imperative to protect soldier`s lives and where possible increase their life expectancy is born out of a twofold necessity. The first reason is the Constitutional guarantee at section 27, that everyone has a right to have access to health care services and the second is that securing the health of our soldiers is in our national interest. Axiomatically – healthy soldiers are better capable to protect our territorial integrity and sovereignty.
In this regard therefore an impassioned appeal must be made for the adequate resourcing and maintenance of military health institutions. The critical nature of these institutions can neither be gainsaid nor overemphasised. We need to keep our soldiers and other deserving persons healthy and that can only be achieved through well-resourced military health institutions.
May I nudge your consciences once more to recognise the plight of our military veterans with the keen understanding that our Constitution enjoins us to honour them. It my contention again that honour has to do with a descent life as it would be foolhardy to orally sing military veterans` praises whilst withholding from them that which is critical to make their lives better.
A caring capable developmental state must honour military veterans in life and remember them in death. Such a state must care about its youth and endeavour to extricate them from the jaws of unemployment. Indeed we are enjoined Honourable members to ensure that our soldiers access health care services without let or hindrance. It is in this spirit and more that the ANC supports the budget.
I thank you,
Speech by Hon Stanley Motimele during the Budget Vote Debate on Defence and Military Veterans
23 May 2013
Topic: Border Security, Anti-piracy, and Landward Defence Programme
Honourable Minister and the Team
Guests in the Gallery
The Preamble to the Constitution enjoins us to inter alia, recognise the injustices of the past; honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land; and hold fast the undying conviction that South Africa is owned by its people. Further the Constitution charges its subjects to heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights; lastly the imperative is to build a united and democratic South Africa able to take its rightful place as a sovereign state in the family of nations.
The defence of the people of the Republic of South Africa, its territorial integrity and sovereignty should be understood within a broad context which includes national security. In the narrow sense national security refers to military defence against foreign aggression; while that is a key component of national security it surely is not the only one nor is it a point that warrants exclusive focus no matter how fundamental its nature could be. The narrow approach is however limited by its exclusive focus on a realist approach that pays scant attention to historical, socio-economic and regional dynamics in a fluid environment. Followed to its ends this approach leads to national security being viewed as the ability of a state to protect its internal values from external threats.
On the other hand the broad approach to national security focusses on a diverse array of global threats, extending the concept to cover every potentially destabilising trend from economics to social dynamics, health and the environment, thereby securitising issues that ought not to be securitised. Our approach remains an integrated one that combines the conventional with the unconventional. That is why we are concerned by the observation made by the National Development Plan which was only adopted last year; that ‘South Africa remains a highly unequal society where many people live in poverty and too few work’.
It has been our observation that many of those who suffered for justice and freedom remain beyond the reach of social justice. We are of the firm conviction that honouring those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land cannot only be through words of appreciation but also though ensuring that requisite benefits do accrue to them as a token of collective appreciation.
The ANC has always espoused universal human rights values and has always considered itself inalienable to matters affecting the continent. Indeed the Freedom Charter adopted in 1955 by progressive South African formation calls for a better South Africa in a better Africa and a better world. Our approach therefore is that of not only ensuring that our people enjoy the freedoms that come with upholding the democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights but that other nations of the world in general and of Africa in particular enjoy the same rights and freedoms. It is in this context among others of similar import that we understand the constitutional imperative to build a united and democratic South Africa able to take its rightful place as sovereign state in the family of nations.
SANDF Border Patrol Responsibilities
Let me without ado appreciate the fact that according to the Department’s Budget Prioritisation, during 2013/14 two more sub-units will be deployed along the border, bringing the total of sub-units deployed to 13. This function has to be understood within two contexts; one – that it is a fundamental function that is inalienable to the protection of South Africa’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. Two – it is relatively a new mandate that invariably introduces new pressure on resources.
The borders of our country are the physical manifestation of our national sovereignty. The control and management of the border environment remains one of our country’s biggest security challenges due to the sheer length of South Africa’s borderline and the large volumes of people and goods moving through our ports of entry. These challenges produce various security vulnerabilities in the border environment which are exploited by illegal migrants who attempt to enter the country; cross-border criminals involved in activities such as drug trafficking, arms proliferation, vehicle smuggling, smuggling of precious metals, stones, ivory and endangered species; and the illegal importing of cigarettes, clothing, alcoholic beverages, medicine and other contraband. These illegal activities are exacerbated by the presence of corrupt border officials at South Africa’s ports of entry who exploit the weaknesses of entry systems when they collude with criminal elements to traffic or smuggle people, illicit goods and vehicles into the country.
Even though the phased re-deployment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to the borderline has yielded positive results, cross-border crime syndicates have displaced their criminal activities to areas of the borderline where the SANDF is not yet deployed. Further, a number of border fences are not maintained and are in a state of disrepair, exposing our country to the threat of animal diseases stemming from neighbouring countries.
It behoves us to make sure that our airspace remains safe in terms of radar coverage to detect any entry and landing of light aircraft at unregistered and informal landing strips. These aircraft, which are able to fly below the radar, are used for various criminal activities such as the smuggling of people, goods and firearms.
The flow of undocumented persons and illicit goods across our maritime borders also poses a national security threat, made possible by the lack of effective patrolling of the maritime borderline, abuses of established business processes, ineffective physical security at maritime ports of entry, and the non-adherence to prescribed legislation and codes. The illegal exploitation of South Africa’s natural resources, specifically the poaching of abalone and illegal fishing by foreign fishing vessels, continues. The threat of piracy, which emanates from the instability in the Horn of Africa, as well as that of maritime crime in the Gulf of Guinea, further complicates the security of our maritime border environment.
Having made the case for ensuring border security and having drawn the causal link and legitimate connection between border management function and the economy as well as crime prevention, I now turn to exigencies of the function. It is trite that this function was within the purview of the police for a significant period of time during our democratic dispensation, and for reasons akin to the ones I just mentioned to you the function was duly transferred to the Defence and Military Veterans Department where it currently resorts.
Others might from a narrow position argue that resourcing defence competences should follow after other competences due to the fact that there is no evident imminent threat to South Africa’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. However we are not oblivious to the fact that resourcing must be informed by an overarching defence strategy in terms of force design and other exigencies. It is in that spirit that our government started the process of a Defence Review which is currently underway. We therefore make a call to the Department to facilitate the expediting of the process of the defence review so as to bring certainty in relation to our Defence Strategy and the resources to implement such strategy. We agree that resource reallocation in a Pareto Efficient manner should be underpinned by the Defence Review.
The South African Navy and Antipiracy
The substantial increase in acts of piracy along Africa’s coastline is of grave concern as it threatens the peace, security and stability of the continent. Although the current piracy hot-spots are off the east and west coast of Africa , for instance the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Guinea, pirates have extended their activities to over 1 100 km offshore and have moved in to Seychelles and Tanzanian waters, even reaching the Indian coast.
Somali pirates have operated as far South as the Mozambique Channel and as far East as 72 degrees East towards the Maldives. As a direct consequence of piracy along the east coast of Africa, a growing number of shipping companies have had to route their ships via the Cape Sea Route instead of using the Suez Canal. Because of these dynamics together with requests from foreign governments and multilateral organisations, we have been compelled to provide a response to such security threats. It is thus therefore critical that the Defence plays a key role to help combat piracy, especially since recent incidents have occurred along the SADC coastline.
South Africa has an exclusive economic zone of 1,553,000 km2 of which the areas around Marion and Prince Edward Islands comprise 474,400 km2. The Atlantic Ocean borders the west coast, the Indian Ocean borders the east and south coast and the Southern Ocean surrounds Marion and Prince Edward Islands. South Africa has tabled its claim to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea for the extension of the continental shelf. This therefore means that South Africa will have to exercise control and enforce state authority over 4,340,000 km2 of maritime territory.
This must also be understood in the context of South Africa being in effect an island economy directly dependent on seaborne trade for 50% of its GDP; and substantially more if one considers that 75% of the oil on which activity depends, comes by sea from the Middle East. South Africa also has an important fishing industry; and has a potential for growing offshore hydrocarbon sector.
Our quest as the ANC is to ensure that all people in South are and feel free from fear and want. Piracy is linked to economic interest as international trading in the form of import and exports is significantly seaborne. Therefore there is a legitimate causal connection between combatting piracy and rendering Africa in general and the SADC region in particular economically viable and economically stable. It is therefore critical in the fight against fear and want that the Defence Review and its subsequent resourcing focus at a sustainable antipiracy strategy. Indeed the NDP vision of a more equitable and prosperous society will be enhanced and prospects of its realisation be shored up by the combat of piracy through an appropriately resourced Navy.
Landward Defence Programme
The landward defence function has the mandate to protect South Africa and its territory by amongst others, providing an infantry capability for external deployment and a Reaction Force for internal safety and security, including border safeguarding. It is also charged with providing signal capability for external deployment and internal signal support, and exercising a composite signal capability per year.
In the same vein that a call is made for the speedy conclusion of the Defence Review we call for same and resourcing of this function in order to ensure that the South African territory and its people are protected and are and feel safe. Our call for the speedy conclusion of the Defence Review process does not issue from any dissatisfaction about the Commission’s work; on the contrary we recognise the mammothness of the task the Commissions has undertaken and stand in full support of the Commission.
In conclusion chairperson, let me underscore the point that, the Defence Review is our blue print to a transformed and a resourced Defence Force. The Defence Force has a function to secure national interest and national security. It is therefore key that resource allocation should be seen in the light of ensuring peaceful existence in the country, the continent and the world.
The Defence competencies are inalienable to economic development and socioeconomic stability. It is therefore important that we strengthen our border management in all terrains be they aerial, maritime, or terrestrial. We therefore support the budget of the Department as it continues to undertake the task of ensuring territorial integrity and protected sovereignty of our beloved country.
David Maynier, Shadow Minister of Defence and Military Veterans
· Minister has overseen three major scandals in the last year: Boeing-gate, CAR-gate and Gupta-gate;
· The Defence department claims to be underfunded, but then effectively hides R4.6 billion in the Special Defence Account;
· Expenditure on “personnel” has ballooned to 50% of the Defence budget but many of them are surplus to the needs of the Defence Force; we have to find a way to increase the operating budget and allocate resources to the “sharp end” of the Defence Force;
· The Defence Review needs to be finalised ASAP for if the Defence Review does not succeed, the Defence Force will not succeed;
· The SANDF were deployed to Gemena in the Democratic Republic of Congo without Parliament being informed despite assurances from the Defence Department that this was not the case.
Some months ago, after completing a cabinet-level performance assessment, President Jacob Zuma, or “No. 1” as he seems to be known within the state, decided to push “eject”.
With the push of a button, former Defence Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu was catapulted from her ultra-luxury Gulfstream executive jet, tumbling down 35 000 foot, and landing in a dump, called “DPSA”.
Since then, the Minister has been spotted, on British Airways, picking at her “Woolies” meals, probably desperately missing her favorite Gulfstream executive jet.
But, truth be told the Minister seems to be settling in rather well, in her new role, monitoring tardiness and name-dropping in the “capable state”.
The same, of course, cannot be said for the new Defence Minister who seems to be stumbling from one scandal to another.
First, we had “Boeing-gate”.
Then, we had “CAR-gate”.
Now, we have “Gupta-gate”.
The Minister must realise that at this rate she is in danger of being re-christened: “Minister-gate”.
There are, unsurprisingly, rumours in the corridors of power that the President is losing patience with the Minister, and that his finger is once again, hovering above the “eject” button.
One suspects, that if there is one more Defence scandal, the President will push the “eject” button, and catapult the Minister back to Correctional Services, where she can do less damage.
Yesterday, we debated “Guptagate” without the benefit of a copy of the final report of the investigation.
The report was deliberately and cynically released in the middle of the debate in order to “disarm” the opposition in Parliament.
The report, frankly, makes for scary reading.
The President is, evidently, not in control of his ministers. And, his ministers are, evidently, not in control of officials.
When the President say’s “jump”, his ministers, evidently, do not even listen.
Now, we were told that the Minister turned down a request from the Gupta family to use AFB Waterkloof.
This appears not to be true.
It was the Minister’s senior adviser – who had been contacted separately by a different person – who in fact turned down the request.
The Minister seems to have, for a period at least, seriously considered the request.
The Minister knew the Guptas had their eye on AFB Waterkloof.
Had she issued a clear instruction to the Defence department, Jet Airways JAI9900 would never have landed in AFB Waterkloof, and there would have been no “Guptagate” scandal.
The Minister was clearly negligent.
We therefore hope that one day soon the Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, will be knocking on the Minister’s door to begin an independent investigation into “Guptagate”.
The Chief of the Defence Force, General “Solly” Shoke, has not been given an opportunity to brief the Joint Standing Committee on Defence on the “combat readiness” of the Defence Force.
We therefore know very little about the state of the Defence Force.
However, everything we do know suggests that the Defence Force is in deep trouble.
This was nowhere better illustrated than by the tragedy in the Central African Republic (CAR).
The Force Commander, Colonel William Dixon, is justifiably proud of our soldiers.
Because our soldiers fought well when the fighting began, surviving according to the terrible logic of battle, which is: kill or be killed.
But, the fact is our soldiers were left dangling, with both hands tied behind their backs, in a deadly firefight, which cost 14 young soldiers, from the elite 1 Parachute Battalion, their lives.
The SANDF was somehow drawn into a battle it could not supply.
And, the limits of the SANDF’s capabilities were on display for everyone to see in the CAR.
We know that the Defence department tends to reduce its problems to a single cause: a shrinking defence budget.
So, it is appropriate that we are here today to debate the R40 billion appropriation for Defence and Military Veterans for the 2013/14 Financial Year.
The Defence budget will marginally increase over the next three years from R40 billion to R45 billion.
This contrasts with the global trend where finance ministers, when it comes to defence spending, are not bothering with haircuts, but are wielding meat axes and slashing defence spending.
Desperate to increase revenue, the Italian Navy, for example, has gone into business and has hired a brand manager and has launched a new energy drink, called “Forza Blu”.
Thankfully, things are bad, but not that bad.
The Defence department also tends to reduce the solution to all its problems to an increase in the Defence budget.
The Defence department legitimately argues that the Defence budget has been reduced to levels where the Defence Force’s ability to effectively conduct military operations is being compromised.
The truth is that the Defence Force’s operating budget has been stripped to the bone, and this has caused major “capability gaps”.
We all now know that twelve state-of-the-art Gripen fighter jets have been vacuum packed, rather like frozen chickens, and placed in long-term storage, because of budget cuts.
The Defence Force is “caught” in a terrible “fix” which put simply is this: the demand for force employment is going up and the Defence Force’s operating budget is going down.
However, the Defence department, frustratingly, does not seem able to help itself by making a credible argument concerning the defence budget.
We are faced with tired old arguments about the defence budget: defence spending, we are told, should be “pegged” at two percent of the GDP.
This, we are told, is what international financial institutions recommend. Well, that is simply not true: what international financial institutions recommend, for developing countries, is that defence spending should not exceed two percent of the GDP.
Then, we are faced with lazy arguments about the defence budget: incredibly, almost nobody in the defence department seems to know exactly by how much the defence budget would have to be increased, if the defence budget was “pegged” at two percent of the GDP.
Well, the answer to that question, for those of you who are interested, is about R30 billion.
Then, we are faced with dishonest arguments about the defence budget: what the Defence department have not disclosed is that there is a surplus of R4.6 billion – yes, R4.6 billion – which has been “warehoused” in the secret Special Defence Account.
The Defence department claims to be underfunded, but then effectively hides R4.6 billion in the Special Defence Account.
The Defence department, it seems to me, is carrying a begging bowl in one hand, and R4.6 billion in the other hand.
The Defence department also seems reluctant to face the fact that expenditure on “personnel” has ballooned and now exceeds 50 percent of the total defence budget.
More than R3 billion has been “shifted” since the 2010/11 financial year to increase remuneration of personnel, many of whom are surplus to the needs of the Defence Force.
The fact is that the Defence Force is a top-heavy, mushroom-shaped monster.
In 2011, for example, we had 19 admirals in the South African Navy, but only 17 ships, many of them alongside.
To twist the words in a famous note penned by a former United States’ defence secretary:
“It is hard to imagine how a collection of such talented, intelligent, honourable, dedicated, patriotic people, who care about the security of South Africa, and the men and women in the armed forces, could have combined to produce such a mess.”
We cannot go on like this.
We have to find a way to increase the operating budget and allocate resources to the “sharp end” of the Defence Force.
Because we have to ensure that our soldiers are never again left dangling, without the necessary support, and without the necessary equipment, as they were in the CAR.
This is imperative, not least because the SANDF are about to begin a very high- risk mission, under the auspices of the United Nations, conducting “offensive operations”, against rebel groups in the eastern DRC.
The last best hope is the Defence Review. That is why we need the Defence Review to be finalised, “ASAP”. In the end, if the Defence Review does not succeed, the Defence Force will not succeed.
Now, it goes without saying that in a democracy such as ours, the Commander-in-Chief, President Zuma, and the Defence Force, must comply with the Constitution.
We all know that the President has an obligation to inform Parliament “promptly and in appropriate detail” about any deployment of the SANDF.
We are all by now familiar with the controversy concerning the deployment of the SANDF in the CAR.
We were told that the SANDF were being deployed to provide training to the defence force in the CAR.
We were not told that the SANDF were being deployed to the CAR to provide “force protection”.
And, we were certainly not told that the SANDF were being deployed to the CAR to keep rebel forces out of Bangui.
But, the situation is much worse because there is much more we were not told.
We heard rumours about a possible deployment of the SANDF to Gemena in the DRC to support operations in the CAR.
Today, I can reveal that the SANDF were deployed in the DRC to support operations in the CAR.
However, this deployment was never disclosed to Parliament.
The Defence department denied that the SANDF had been deployed to the DRC.
Brigadier-General Xolani Mabanga told us “claims of massing troops in Uganda and the DRC are not credible”.
Well, here is a picture of a Rooivalk helicopter deployed at Gemena in the DRC.
This picture provides incontrovertible evidence that the SANDF were deployed in Gemena in the DRC.
These force elements may have been deployed for a perfectly legitimate military reason.
That is not the point.
The point is this: Parliament was never informed about the deployment of the SANDF in the DRC to support operations in the CAR.
This is incontrovertible evidence that President Zuma did not fully inform Parliament about the deployment of the SANDF to Gemena in the DRC.
This is incontrovertible evidence that President Zuma misled Parliament about the deployment of the SANDF to Gemena in the DRC.
This is incontrovertible evidence that President Zuma lied to Parliament about the deployment of the SANDF to Gemena in the DRC.
We will, therefore, consider tabling a substantive motion calling for a parliamentary investigation into this matter.
We cannot sit back and allow President Zuma to play fast-and-loose with the Constitution and with Parliament.
Debate on Vote 22 - Defence and Military Veterans