New Military Discipline Bill


If all goes according to plan the officer heading up legal services in the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) could find him or herself with the title of Judge Advocate General (JAG) as opposed to the current Adjutant General.

This is one of a number of recommendations included in the Military Discipline Bill due to be tabled at a February meeting of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans.

The bill, B21 of 2019, seeks to provide for effective administration of the military justice system as well as maintain a high level of discipline in the ranks of the four services making up the national defence force. It also contains provisions regarding the establishment and regulation of military courts, the appointment of military judicial officers and court officials and provides for administrative processes.

It also makes provision for a JAG to head up legal services with a Provost Marshal General of the SANDF to support him or her.

The new bill, once written into the Statute Book, will repeal the Military Discipline Supplementary Measures Act of 1999.

Areas of law incorporated into the new bill include the limitation of jurisdiction of military courts, their territorial jurisdiction and handling of civilian offences under the still to be passed Act.

The new bill also contains a chapter devoted to military disciplinary hearings, as opposed to charges laid in accordance with the Military Disciplinary Code or transgressions of civilian law.