Draft Defence Review report released

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pretoria - The Defence Review Committee, appointed by Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu last year to look into updating the policy of the South African National Defence Force, on Thursday handed over a Draft Defence Review report to the minister.

According to the Committee Chairperson, former Defence Minister Roelf Meyer, the 14-member committee is to hold a number of public consultations in June to familiarise communities with the report.

This, he said, would be to establish the needs of South Africans.

In accepting the draft report, Sisulu said the old report was no longer relevant to the current situation, a new policy that would be responsive to the country's developmental requirements was needed.

She said the draft report will be presented to Parliament next week, where she hoped it would be approved.

At the time of the appointment of the Committee, Sisulu said there was a need to review all legislations, programmes and policies in order to answer the important question of what the role of the SANDF was in a developing state facing a number of developmental challenges.

According to Sisulu, the last policy update and review was done in 1998. The 1998 Defence Review was preoccupied with the integration of both the statutory and non-statutory armed forces after the negotiated transition in 1994.

It addressed matters of transformation and the normalisation of security relations in the Southern African region and attempted to provide the first policy foundations for a 'Defence in a Democracy'.

The 1998 Review further took a conservative approach to the deployment of the Defence Force in pursuit of regional security envisaging that South Africa would only contribute a single battalion to peace keeping operations.

Meyer explained that the committee, in the draft document, had unpacked five strategic defence goals including the defence and protection of South Africa, the safeguarding of South Africa and its people, Defence's contribution to South Africa's international agenda and promotion of regional and continental peace and stability, supporting civil authority in times of crisis and civil control over defence and accountable utilisation of defence resources.

The Committee met for the first time in July last year when the minister briefed them about their mandate.

It also comprises former Defence Force Minister Charles Nqakula, North West Premier Thandi Modise - who is the Deputy Chair, Tony Yengeni, Dr Moses Khanyile, Dr Phandelani Motoma, Dr Gulube, Nonkonzo Molai, Colonel G Seape, Nick Sendall, Helmoed Heitman, Admiral Philip Schoultz, Ambassador Thenjiwe Mtintso and Godfrey Giles.