“We should always tell the press, freely and frankly, anything that they can easily find out some other way,” a famous fictional civil servant once advised his prime minister.
Sound advice indeed.
I have several times lamented discernable progress on the revision of the 1996 Defence White Paper and the 1998 Defence Review. These lamentations were based on queries, formal and informal, to the Ministry of Defence, inter alia. Feedback received was that the wheels were turning, albeit slowly.
It may be recalled the former defence minister Mosiuoa Lekota last June promised to have the document, now known as “Defence Update 2025” (DU2025) before Parliament within a month.
I have since remarked that it has been a long month.
Following Lekota`s departure in September, I was told the new minister would have to familiarise himself with the detail before being able to sell the Update to Cabinet. That seemed logical.
Logical. But not true.
A little birdie tells me Lekota tabled DU2025 in Cabinet on 7 August last year, following its successful passage of two cabinet cluster committees the month before.
I have clearly been deceived. So have you. I apologise for my part in this shabby deception. I cannot yet say whether the responses to my queries were deliberately dishonest or merely incorrect as the result of negligence or oversight. I will find out.
Stilus Gladius Meus Est!