Cyber defence presentation stands down for military legal one in Parliament


Instead of hearing about progress on South Africa’s cyber defence capabilities, Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) this week attended to legislative matters.

Committee chair Cyril Xaba, according to a Parliamentary Communication Services statement, said the Defence Amendment Bill (Bill 18 of 2017) is a long outstanding issue and the Military Discipline Bill (Bill 21 of2019) is a lengthy bill requiring a thorough briefing.

As far as the Defence Amendment Bill is concerned the committee resolved to finalise it as “a matter of urgency”. Its progress through the legislative passage saw it passed by the National Assembly in November last year. Subsequent changes by the National Council of Provinces saw the bill go back to the National Assembly. The PCDMV agreed the amendment would have “no significant impact” on the bill as it was a technical one.

The Military Discipline Bill seeks to provide, among others, effective administration of the military court system and maintenance of discipline in the SA National Defence Force (SANDF). It also aims at speeding up “dispensation of justice” in the country’s military courts

Xaba is reported as saying “preliminary observations are the bill will require additional funding” for implementation which will require budget reprioritising.

The DoD presentation was noted as being “extensive” and Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s department was commended for “proposing measures to tighten up maintenance of discipline in the military, while ensuring the observance of human rights”.

“The Constitution demands nothing less than a disciplined military force,” the statement read.

The Military Discipline Bill will be published for public comment and input “during the next few weeks”. At the same time the PCDMV will continue to “interrogate” its content.