Defence policy expected soon

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The long delayed update to the Defence policy may soon be released. In her Defence Budget Vote speech to the National Assembly on Friday, the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Lindiwe Sisulu, stated that the outdated Defence policy was a major challenge for her department. 

Sisulu said the Department was “embarking on a Policy Review to ensure that the Defence Force is in line with the lived reality of our democracy. We want to take on board what we have become and take into account new challenges facing us as a country and as a continent”. 

She acknowledged that the country had obligations beyond the borders and that responsibility for the continent had become an important port of foreign policy.  

“A new policy review has to consider the logic that underpins the necessity of a Force Design of the SANDF that must be able to contribute appropriately to disaster relief, peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance as part of buttressing the project to consolidate democracy in countries that have recently emerged from conflict. 

“The strategy focuses on the achievement of the mandate by having the required capabilities, as opposed to being a financially driven strategy.” 

The review has been in the making for approximately five years and Sisulu acknowledged that major changes had taken place in the defence environment since the original Defence Policy was adopted. 

Tsepe Motumi, Acting Secretary of Defence Secretary of Defence, noted that the draft Policy Review would be finalised at the end of July. It would then be presented to the Minister and Cabinet. Thereafter, the Review would be presented to Parliament. 

“Our target is that by the end of this calendar year it will be presented before Parliament,” he said. 

Sisulu committed to release the consolidated Review for public comment once she had received it.