Defence Review seminar underway in Cape Town


Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu will this afternoon at 2pm open an international seminar on the updating of the 1996 White Paper on Defence and 1998 Defence Review. Her office says the event, which continues tomorrow, will look at the strategic environment and issues underpinning defence policy.

“The seminar marks the beginning of a ministerial consultative programme on the updating of the South African Defence Review currently being finalised by the Defence Review Committee chaired by … Roelf Meyer,” Sisulu’s office says.
“The seminar provides a consultative and experiences sharing forum in which international speakers, members of the Defence Review, members of the Defence Service Commission, and South African military experts share ideas on the best defence policies, focus and mandate in the 21st century for the SANDF.

The seminar, at the Cullinan Hotel in Cape Town, “will be attended by among others, ministers from the SADC region, defence review committee members, Members of Parliament, senior officials and generals from the Department of Defence and experts from different.”

In late August Sisulu announced a wide-ranging defence review with maximum public participation to guide policy far into the future. “In essence, the national defence policy of a country defines the strategic intent of government regarding defence, including the utilisation of the defence force,” Sisulu added at the time. She told journalists and Members of Parliament “the continental environment has also been overtaken by a number of elements that the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) must now operate under”, including the formation of the African Union (AU) and the creation of the AU’s Peace and Security Council and its organs, and the creation of the African Standby Force.
“There is also an emergent conviction that regional and sub- regional organisations must take more responsibility for managing the conflict in their neighbourhoods. This implies a greater role for the AU and Southern African Development Community (SADC) in managing regional conflict. Therefore, equally driving the need to update SA’s defence policy is the importance allocated to stabilising parts of the African continent,” Sisulu continued.

Various ministers of defence have promised an update since 2004 but none have reached Parliament. Various efforts have been made over the years, with the latest produced just before Sisulu’s appointment in May 2009.