SANDF recruiting and other things

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The bulk of recent reader comments to defenceWeb come from readers interested in joining the South African National Defence Force and lamenting the paucity of information available. This is not the case. The Department of Defence front page at www.dod.mil.za has a clearly marked careers portal that opens as www.careers.mil.za. All the information sheets and application forms are there.
Other comments questioned the accuracy of pay-scales published as a fact file on defenceWeb. The figures were provided by the Department of Public service and Administration, who sets the scales concerned. I presume they know what they pay civil servants, including the military. I cannot second-guess them.
However, I know the scales are basic, in other words without allowances and the like. These can alter the take-home pay of military personnel considerably, especially for those with scarce skills.              
Hope that helps young readers keen to serve our great country.
Peacekeeping conference
In addition to keynote speaker, Lt Gen TT Matanzima, defenceWeb has also secured SA Police Service Assistant Commissioner Michael Fryer as a speaker at our upcoming Peacekeeping 2009 event (24-25 June) at Gallagher Estate. Fryer is the CIVPOL police commissioner of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).       
UNAMID is the SA`s first foray into police peacekeeping and it should be very interesting to hear what challenges Fryer and the SA police have aced and overcome in that most testing of environments.   
Speculation
I note with amusement that despite political pundit Aubrey Matshiqi telling sister news service ITWeb that it “is anyone’s guess” who will fill key portfolios in President-elect Jacob Zuma`s Cabinet, his peers are freely indulging their fantasies, proposing “dream teams” to the Business report newspaper on Tuesday, for example.    
Matshiqi told a colleague appointments by previous presidents have proven illogical and “have baffled analysts and the public”.
Matshiqi, a senior associate political analyst with the Centre for Policy Studies, added that past experience has taught the process cannot be successfully predicted. “There is no logic in this regard. One always ends up looking like a fool.”



Some of his colleagues have no such scruples…

I rather agree with Matshiqi and while I`m rather curious who will fill the portfolios and portfolio committees of interest to us, I`m not about to make any guesses either.
Of interest, however, is what the political writers of that paper, and their colleagues over at Business Day rated as important. Business Report`s Donwald Pressly described the economic cluster as the “key portfolios”. Karima Brown named finance, education, health, rural development and police as “critical ministries.” The police aside, neither mentioned any of the security ministries, which for our purposes includes defence, intelligence and foreign affairs.       
The list of MPs – from which ministers will largely be drawn – is available in .pdf format on the IEC website. All the incumbents bar Intelligence minister Siyabonga Cwele and deputy defence minister Fezile Bhengu are back in Parliament. Also apparently out in the cold is Portfolio Committee on Defence chairman Benji Ntuli. That is a loss for Parliament and democratic oversight. Happily, Dr Gerhard Koornhof (ANC) and Adv Hendrik Schmidt (ANC) have returned and will provide the committee much institutional memory. 
     
Errata
 
Last week I commented on voter turnout, concluding that despite the euphoria, only a small part of the population had voted. In former The Star editor Peter Sullivan`s words, news is the best stab at the truth in the time available: ditto for columns. At the time of writing last week, the number of votes counted was 12 million.    
The final count, on Saturday, showed 17 680 729 citizens out of 23.18 million registered to vote did so. This is a voting percentage of 77.3%, impressive under any circumstances anywhere. However, and this was the point, the total population is about 48 million including about 9.6 million children under 18. Rounding off the figures that leaves a voting potential voters pool of 38 million, meaning the voter turnout as a percentage of the total entitled to cast a ballot was somewhat shy of 50%. Thus slightly les than one in two people who could have voted did vote. Why was that? And what about the 5.5 million who registered but did not turn up last Wednesday? (And pardon me for finding a black cloud to go with the silver lining.)
Len le Roux
Maj Gen Len le Roux (SAAF, Retd) retires for a second time today. Le Roux, who was in large part responsible for the 1996 White Paper on Defence and the 1998 Defence Review, is now stepping down as Programme Head: Defence Sector at the Institute for Security Studies. defenceWeb wishes the General well in his retirement from retirement.          
Intern
defenceWeb is looking at taking aboard an intern reporter to assist the editor in the editorial department. The individual should have some training in journalism, should be keen, passionate, industrious and intensely curious, have a grasp of history as well as geography and current affairs & preferably have served in the military. Serious applicants to send a CV, supporting documents and a motivation to the editor at leon at defenceWeb.co.za      
Workers` Day
May Day is a public holiday in these parts. I wish you a good long weekend after this short week. defenceWeb will resume publishing on Monday.