Transcript: International Cooperation, Trade and Security Cluster briefing


Panel: Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, Defence and Military Veterans; Minister Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry; Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim, International Relations and Cooperation; Mpumi Mpofu, Secretary of Defence; Barbara Thompson, Deputy Minister of Energy, Imbizo

Media Centre, Cape Town

Questions and answers

Journalist: Is the South African Government going to condemn the use of lethal force in Libya and is it true that we sold them a whole lot of sniper rifles and ammunition. And the second issue is the Drakensberg has been apparently deployed to the coast of Cote d’Ivoire when Parliament will be informed about that.

Journalist: Also to the Minister of Defence, you say that the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has made noticeable achievements since its deployment to the borders. Can you give us some more details over how long a period, can you give us some figures just to flesh that out a little bit more. Secondly to Deputy Minister Ebrahim can you give us an update on the negotiations in Cote d’Ivoir?

Journalist: A follow up. To the Minister when is the Drakensberg likely to be out of the West Coast waters? To the Deputy Minister of International Relations, how many South Africans are currently in Libya and how many are affected and business people as well. We have seen that some foreign nationals have already left Libya. Another question to that relates to the situation of former President of Madagascar. We saw that he was refused leaving South Africa for that country and that his still in the country. What is the latest and is he going to try to go back to Madagascar. Thank you.

Minister Lindiwe Sisulu: The one advantage I do have is to allocate responsibilities to my colleagues. I will therefore ask the Deputy Minister of Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) together with the Deputy Director-General (DDG) please to respond to the questions that have been asked around Libya, around Madagascar, Cote d’Ivoire.

Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim: And the first question of course whether we condemn the use of force, of course we have always condemned the use of force against peaceful demonstrations and against civilian population no matter where it takes place. In this whole uprising of demonstration that took place in the Middle East we have always been of the view that these demonstrations were peaceful and whatever problems there are it should be resolved peacefully. The question of negotiations in Cot d’Ivoire you would know that our President is there at the moment, they had some discussions with Laurent Gbagbo, but I don’t think it is convenient at this stage to say what is the nature of the discussions and I am sure when our President returns home he will give us some indication as to what is the nature of the discussion and whether there has been any breakthrough or success in the negotiation process.

How many South Africans are in Libya? I am not sure whether the DDG has any information on that. I don’t know if the DDG wants to add to what I have just said. As far as Ravalomanana is concerned we did issue a statement to say that we have not expelled him from South Africa. If he wants to go back to his home country it is his own decision but South Africa has not forced him out of the country. As you know he was not able to take the plane because the Madagascans refused him entry. But whether he wants to go back to his country or not that is his own decision. As far as South Africa is concerned we have not take any steps to expel him from South Africa. I don’t know if the DDG wants to add to what I have just said.

Minister Lindiwe Sisulu: Have we sold any sniper rifles to Libya? Not that I am aware of. We have a committee that oversees the sale of any arms or ammunition from South Africa to any country outside of ourselves. A report is provided of our activities in this regard by the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) and I am not aware that Libya is on the list of those countries that we have sold sniper rifles to. If you are speaking specifically since the incident and the protest occurred it is an emphatic no. We have not sold any sniper rifles to Libya.

You ask when we will inform Parliament about the deployment of the Drakensberg. The Drakensberg together with most of our naval ships conducts naval exercises on a periodic basis. The Drakensberg was dispatched in early January as part of its exercises training junior offices on international waters on the West Coast. The only time that we came inland was in early February to refuel in Ghana.

We are out in international waters and we will be available should there be any need to evacuate our staff from the Embassy of Cote d’Ivoire. Should we be required to assist the President in any way, at that point we will then be deployed and Parliament will be informed. At the moment we are at sea in international waters in the West Coast making sure that we continue with our business. Our maritime forces, our navy is primary responsible for the sea that’s where they train so that’s where we will find them. In this particular case this is where they are, we have the Mendi exercising and also making sure that our waters the Atlantic Ocean are looked after that is part of their responsibilities.

The question was when will the Drakensberg return? The Drakensberg will return as and when we believe that there is no need for any assistance and they have completed their routine exercises on that particular part of the world. I think I have been answered most of the questions. Our successes it was very good to hear the General Chief of the South African Police Service (SAPS) noting that in fact our deployment to the border has resulted in a decrease of cross border crime, so that didn’t come from us it came from the people who are working with us and whom we are replacing on the borders.

Generally the feedback that we get from the communities the Chief of the Defence Force took a tour of duty around the borders all of last week and he came back very reassured that the communities in those areas are very happy with the deployment of the Defence Force and that we are doing a good job out there. There are a number of ways in which we have made inroads into cutting across crime. We have lowered the rate of car theft that drives across the borders because we are now in the process of implementing very firm continues border control. No possibility that existed in the past of cars being driven across to our neighbouring states.

The syndicates which have been operating specifically between Mozambique and ourselves have been arrested, syndicate leaders have been arrested and this particular crime is being brought under control. The farmers have shown confidence in ourselves and we are being urged by the farmers along the Free State to hasten to ensure that we can protect their borders because we have that level of certainty around the fact that when we are there, crime will go down. Illegal cigarettes especially across the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe have gone down. We have also had successful arrests around poachers on the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) border. We could go on with our successes but I think that when the Chief of the SAPS spoke on this matter he spoke for all of us.

Journalist: I notice the Cabinet statement from the Cabinet briefing mentioned that Cabinet will be paying greater attention to combating piracy. You have mentioned Mendi twice already can you elaborate a bit more on what the Mendi is currently doing if it’s on a training exercise. And then perhaps back to the Cabinet statement it mentioned that the Defence Force may be doing, dare I say equipment acquisitions that’s related to maritime security. Does this mean that Project Biro is finally on the cards?

Journalist: A follow up on the issue of piracy. If I may ask Minister you say here that we working with other defence forces and security agency of the region to protect our maritime areas. I am trying to find out maybe if you can elaborate on that. What does it entail and if we do come across pirate vessels are we free to engage? What does it mean?

Journalist: I wonder if you can tell us what is going on with the ground based Air Defence System Phase Two. When will this project be concluded and what is the final amount that Government intends to spend on this. An amount was put out this week by Defence Web that so far a R106 million has been spend in the past four years but you know there is no information to the public on this project. Can you disclose everything about it?

Journalist: Also the Cabinet statement mentions that Cabinet was going to explore initiatives aimed at assisting Somalia. What kind of initiatives are we talking about here and then it also say the Defence Minister will take the lead in developing a strategy to address the threat of strategy. When will see that strategy does it have a deadline? Are we also going to be buying more vessels?

Minister Lindiwe Sisulu: I have a Mozambican citizen here so I thought he perhaps might want to comment.

Minister Rob Davies: I think what has been noticed on the question of the Somali piracy is that they are hijacking large vessels and then these vessels are actually moving into places which are a little distant from Somalia itself including into SADC waters. I think this is the new development which the Cabinet has noted and referred to and what we have to do is to take account of the fact that in terms of naval capacity in SADC, many of our neighbouring countries have got very little and we have most of the naval capacity that’s there. So I think the Cabinet statement is saying we are going to have to devise a strategy to take account of this new development and also of the resources and unevenness in capacities in our region. That’s the just of it so it’s a new development on the piracy front.

Minister Lindiwe Sisulu: We experienced an intrusion into the waters of SADC around the 28th of December with the hijacking of a Mozambican vessel that contained 28 Mozambicans and two Spanish sailors. The Mozambicans requested of us to assist them because they don’t have the necessary equipment and in terms of a memorandum of understanding we have with Mozambique we responded to this. We have now gone back to Cabinet in line with the developments and the trend that we see on the matter of piracy to say it is important that we look at this matter and devise strategies to deal with it so that we don’t have a once off response to this problem. We do know that the African Union is committed to ensuring that if we are going to deal with the matter of Somalia piracy we have got to attend to the matter of the transitional Government in Somalia.

You will remember that the President indicated that we are doing all we can as South Africa to ensure that we can assist the fragile transitional Government of Somalia so that we have institutions on Somalia that can hold and that can impose some form of law and order. On the other hand it is not possible for us to sit back when we have incursion on waters that we are responsible for so we deployed the SS Mendi to patrol the borders so that it can bring us a little more information and actually indicate to anybody out there that South African waters is protected. We have not yet formally deployed and when we do first Cabinet will be informed, Parliament will be informed and the public will be informed however we remain very concerned about the intrusion of piracy into our space and we remain determined that we will not allow it to continue.

There are a number of other matters that we have been taking down and I will ask the Secretary of Defence to assist with one or two of the questions. The lady from the Sowetan is asking for the second time in our press briefings a matter we referred to the strategic plan of the department around ground air missiles. No I referred you to the session that was sitting with the Secretary of Defence because the detail of that was elaborated upon to the Portfolio Committee. She is here now and she can give you the necessary details. A one on one is very welcome, I take coffee what do you take?

Mpumi Mpofu: Minister thank you very much the question relates to the issue of ground to air missiles and the considerable delays we face in this particular project. We have been in negotiations with Denel as you would know around this particular matter and specifically there is an issue related to a payment of R150million which would really facilitate further progress being achieved on this particular project and I think the challenge that we do face is a challenge of delivery meeting the timeframes that have been set for this project and our current negotiations we would indicate when it is favourable because we are the client. For us as a client to continue making payment when we see significant progress made with respect to this particular project. So we are currently under discussions and we would be able to conclude as long as we can see how the progress that needs to be made with respect to this matter can be secured and we need to be convinced by Denel.

The second relates to the issue of Project Biro a question was asked with respect to that. Project Biro basically is intended to facilitate the acquisition of equipment to facilitate the strengthening, revitalisation of our land forces. Specifically we’ve been dealing with this programme and there are particular issues relating to the initial acquisition and we think the programme will come back at the point at which we have finalised arrangements and the strategy for landward force equipment acquisition as an overall strategy and that project will then be revitalised at that particular time.

In our strategic plan as the Minister indicates we confirm very clearly that after the STP Programme which facilitated acquisitions for the Airforce and the Navy the landward forces are our next priority and that project is intended in the acquisition of equipment of trucks and others for ensuring that we are able to provide the necessary capacity to our landward forces. So the project will come back at the point at which the strategy is being implemented. In our budget we have looked at treasury and prioritise landward forces for the next phase of acquisition for the Defence Force. Thanks.

Minister Lindiwe Sisulu: Chairperson there is a complaint when we meet in Cabinet those Cabinet briefings to tend to take on the personality of the person whose chairing and we urge that this is a cluster with very important achievements we have made in various areas. Trade and Industry in areas of environment and we would like to be able to interact with you and share our progress with you and direct you to concentrate on those very important areas of our work. Thank you.

Journalist: Minister you would be glad to know that the question is indeed to the Deputy Minister of Energy. Deputy Minister does our Department of Energy hold any view on gas exploration in the Karoo and especially on the “fracking” method as it’s called.

Journalist: Minister yes in the spirit of your comments could you share withus perhaps more details about discussion that are on the way with the African Union (AU) to find a funding solution to South African officials participating in AU missions. Has a solution been found and if not what’s going to be done because we all know the AU is cash-strapped. South Africa provides a lot of funding to that organisation so what is the solutions in that regard and then a question to the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. On the Libyan situation, Deputy Minister can you tell us has the South African Government been in touch with any members of the ruling family in Libya over the last three days. If so when and what would have been the content of such discussions. Thank you.

Journalist: My question is regarding the Minister’s comments about trade and piracy with saying that South Africa will deal immediately with any impediment to trade. Either Minster if they could answer that question? Does that mean you would consider military intervention and will the Mendi take military action if there’s an issue while it is in the channel?

Journalist: For Minister Davies on the international trade front we did have industry complaining when the rand was too strong it seems to be going in the other direction. I don’t know what the trends are what complaints other constituencies might have? What your view of international trade flows at the moment is?

Minister Rob Davies: First of all let me say on the value of the currency, yes it is true that the value of the currency has moved into the right direction in the last little while. I think we have not yet solved all the problems of achieving a less volatile and more competitive exchange rate so I think the issue has not disappeared entirely although I think the most recent movements have been in the right direction. The concern remains that these upward movement have been due to instabilities in the world economy.

What is the state in direction of trade right now and how does it relate to some of the matters that we’ve talked about. If we look at the state of the world economy we can see that it continues to be one in which there is a multi speed recovery in which some of the so called advanced developing countries are the ones which are the dynamic forces moving ahead and really providing whatever recovery there is and that in the developed world there are still enormous problems arising from the global economic crisis which are not yet resolved. I think that is the broad picture.

When we break that down, we can see that the country which is leading the pack is China, followed by India, followed by Brazil but there is a growing body of opinion and literature which is telling us that the next growth story which is emerging is Africa. There was a study that came out towards the end of last year by Mackenzie Corporation called Lions on the Move and it says what’s driving the growth in Africa is one the mineral boom. What that tells us is that the growth of the domestic market in Africa is very important. We look at China; China has been growing on the basis of export growth but is now turning to grow its domestic market.

Very fundamental, India has grown its first shot at growth was off its domestic market, Brazil has a sizable domestic market. Now people have said before what would have happened if China was divided into 54 countries under colonialism instead of being one domestic market, it would’ve looked very different to what it is today. Because when we look at our domestic market as an individual country, we are 49 million people in South Africa, we are a small town in China; we are not actually a sizable domestic market. But if we start to look at our continent as a whole or even if we start to look at sizable parts of our continent, then we start to crack the numbers. So this thing that we are talking about, the East Africa Community, SADC and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), you heard the figures from my colleague here.

Twenty six countries, 700 million people, 624 billion US dollars combined gross domestic product (GDP), this now start to be something which is a sizable domestic market. What I can say to you is that within weeks rather than months we will be hosting here in South Africa the next summit of the Tri-partite group. We had two weekends ago, the weekend before last, we had a propriety meeting of the SADC Task Force of Regional Integration to prepare for this summit.

What I can say is that there was a very useful and important meeting of minds about the approach to this SADC Free Trade Area(FTA). Now this is only one of the three rigs and it is a summit engagement but I think that the signs are that we will seriously be able to move forward with this project. We got a realistic perspective which we have developed as the SADC Ministers which we have put into our heads of State and then into the tri-tite process. So I think that this is a very exciting and very important development.

The other one is the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS); you heard the date in April will be the first meeting of the BRICS. As well as be a forum for us to coordinate our positions on global issues, the BRICS will also be developing a program of trying to set targets for inter BRICS trade and also looking at cooperative arrangements to try and facilitate that. So I think that we are doing is we are working energetically around as the new Growth Path said, build in the African market. Because not only are we talking about an FTA in the tri-partite, we are talking about series cooperation programmes and some of the special development initiatives are related to that.

Also a much broader cooperative agenda around infrastructure, construction development, cooperation around industrial development, things of that sort. We are talking about a much bigger program around that tri-partite arrangement.

So I think these are the things that are going to be the major focuses of our work that things that we want to concentrate on, the things that we think are going to bring real benefits in terms of trade and economic development and job creation to South Africa and also to the rest of the continent. We are of cause engaged in the multi lateral process, the World Trade Organisation; there is an intense process of negotiation going on in Geneva right now, what is called the window of opportunities seen as open from now until the middle of the year to conclude the round.

Unfortunately I think the nature of the demands that have been put by the developed countries which are asking for more concessions in terms of industrial tariffs and then not willing to follow this through with commensurate payments in terms of agriculture or even on some of the services issues does not all go too well in our estimation for a successful developmental conclusion to the round. But we are energetic, we engage in that process as well. So we have our own agendas and I think we are also engaging I the global multi lateral arena as well.

I think that we are beginning to see some of the benefits for this when  we look at trade flows, we see that trade with BRICS has been growing even during the recession. Our trade with some of our established trading partners who continue to remain important to us with whom we continue to want to build and develop trade relations unfortunately took a knock during the recession. So there is a gradual progression on re-emphasis and re-focus on our trade agenda.

Journalist: And the question of Libya.

Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim: As far as my Department is concerned we have not been in touch with anyone from the rural administration in Libya. I must say we have been in touch with our ambassador there to find out whether first of all to get a report of exactly what is taking place in Libya so we can get first hand information. And also to try and ascertain how many South Africans are there and whether anyone there is in danger. I am told the communication is not very good because there is some problem with the communication but we are in touch with our ambassador. We hope to get a full report very soon as to what is the situation there. I didn’t think it was necessary for us to be in touch with any of the ruling administration and the ruling elite in Libya at least from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO).

Deputy Minister Barbara Thompson: One has to be honest. On the issue of whether or not there will be further explorations on the Karoo, I think I should be honest I am not aware of such initiatives. Perhaps in the future one could arrange a meeting of this nature where we could prepare ourselves and get the relevant answers. I don’t even have my support staff I just came as a mere ordinary visitor then I was invited. But perhaps if we could arrange a meeting of this nature one could answer to the relevant questions.

Minister Lindiwe Sisulu: It has been a very useful intrusion having you here Deputy Minister because we learned a new word and I have written it down. You will be hearing more of that in future, especially you. There was a question also that I would though I would ask the Deputy Minister of International Relations to attempt. It was a question about the South African deployment in AU missions, I am not sure if it was a military deployment or just generally in AU missions. Understanding that the AU is cash trapped what are we doing, are we taking on the costs as we deploy in the AU.

Journalist: Sorry Minister if I can just help to clarify it. It’s in relation to reports last week about the administration wanting to cut down on funding for flights for instance for former President Mbeki on his Sudan’s missions. The government did put out a statement saying they were in negotiations with the AU; I just want to know where we stand with those negotiations.

Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim: I don’t have any information on that. Generally the AU is always cash trapped or whatever you call it. And if you deploy somebody in the AU or in one of the institutions on the continent one of the problems we have had that if you deploy someone there the salary they get is quite below the salary which they would earn in South Africa. I don’t know whether we could deploy somebody there and then beef up the salary; give them an additional salary to keep them there. But in SADC and in the AU there is a quota system and even at the United Nations. I think what the Minister of Defence is saying is that we need to look at how we (unclear), taking into account of cause the financial problems in the AU.

I think AU would want to, if you travel to an UA meeting you expect that the country should pay for the travel and for the expenses, even for the hotel expenses. I am sure when we go to AU meetings we have to pay our own way to the meeting and airfare, the accommodation etc. And I think there is also the problem of how much the other members could contribute to the AU. There is always a problem that South Africa probably is able to contribute its share to the AU coffers but other countries are not able to do that. So there is always a problem of cash but I don’t have any details of exactly what you are asking.

Minister Lindiwe Sisulu: There were two more questions, one on whether we would consider military action to deal with the issue of piracy. I am not sure if that is the correct understanding of that question. We deployed SS Mende out there purely at the moment for patrol purposes, to assist us, gather information and assist us to be in state of readiness should there be any problems on the sea, especially of the nature that we encountered in December. At the moment we are dealing with a strategy which should be presented to Cabinet to analyse the threat, see what position South Africa will take and when that strategy is complete we will be able to indicate whether or not we are opting for a military solution.

From Pretoria I think that we misunderstood a question that you had asked and we answered another question that you had not asked. It was around the issue of Project Biro (sic), yes we would be considering depending what the strategy is and what Cabinet agrees to. We would be considering re-energising Project Biro because as you well know some of our free gates is too big to remove around the coast and we have been discussing, we discussed it sometime last year and shelved it because it was not such an immediate option for us. But we might be getting back to that depending on the outcome of the strategy that we will be presenting to Cabinet. I think we have covered most of the questions that we were asked.

Journalist: Have we been fully paid back by Airbus for those A400s. I remember last time you said that you will plea that the money comes back to your Department. Has your plea been successful with the Minister of Finance and have you identified any replacements?

Minister Lindiwe Sisulu: I am glad you are not asking if we are considering military action.

Journalist: Minister you are always complaining about the Budget, what is your wish list from the Minister tomorrow?

Journalist: My question is to Deputy Minister Ebrahim. It kind of follows on what Deon was asking for before. Considering we might be assisting Somalia soon and the little transitional Government sitting in a small corner of Mogadishu might need some assistance. Former President Thabo Mbeki might be send there, who will pay the bill, us the AU or Somalia. I think that is what we are trying to get at. Who is responsible for paying these kinds of fees?

Journalist: To Minister Davies. While Government might be doing a lot to open up doors in Africa, how active has our private sector been? There are a lot of articles about China climbing in and South Africa being left behind, I don’t know how you feel about that.

Journalist: Minister thank you for that correction on Biro. Two other questions I have. UN reimbursements, perhaps not just a Defence question but also for Finance and for International Relations as such. There have been some problems of serviceability on Defence Force equipment on UN missions and as a consequence that we haven’t gotten our full UN reimbursement. I know this is a huge issue for the Department and they are working on it. Can you give us an update on that? Perhaps also it is a pity that State Security isn’t present. What is the latest on the Border Management Agency which will certainly help the Defence Force along the Border line?

Deputy Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim: Of course it is a hypothetical question if former President Mbeki is sent to Somalia. I don’t think the Somalia Government would afford to pay for him. I think the practise is that our Ministry of Defence pays for his expenses and his transport if he is asked to go to a place like Somalia as an example. I don’t think the AU has the funds to cover his costs, I am told (speaking off the mic), pays for the costs.

Minister Rob Davies: Let me just say that I do think that the South African private sector is extremely active on the African continent in a whole lot of ways. You just heard in the brief that Minister Sisulu has read out, a list of projects that they were involved in in South Sudan. I think that there isn’t reluctance in general to get involved in the African continent. It is always our task when there are State visits and trade missions; we work with the private sector to expose them to opportunities that are there. I must say that sometimes what happens is that we find our counterparts in the African continent were telling us about opportunities where South Africans have not been involved and we try to bring those to the attention. For example when we had the business forum with Uganda, that was the message that came out that there were ea whole lot of things that were happening in parts of Uganda where some other parties from outside the continent were involved and South Africans were not involved. They were trying to encourage us to become more involved in those and that is what we try to do as Government as well. Yes the landscape in Africa is becoming one where there is a greater multiplicity of players involved in infrastructure programs of mine ventures. In terms of even in agriculture projects and other things and I think we are broadly speaking welcome that.

The more the continent is able to deal with the multiplicity of outside players the more options it has and I think that what we need to do is we build up over time. We need to develop a common approach so that we negotiate more effectively with outside parties to extract more value for Africa. For example one of the initiatives that we are involved in is that we are coordinating something called CAMI (The Council of African Ministers of Industry) where we are supposed to have a meeting in April in Algeria. Perhaps the Deputy Minister will tell us if that is still going to happen. But we are having the meeting in Algeria of CAMI and one of the things that we are suggesting there is a kind of common project for African Ministers of Industry is that we need to work together to identify opportunities for mineral beneficiation.

We are all facing this issue of our minerals are now much sought after and in such a context is it possible for us to come together as African countries to deal with the customers for those mineral products and to encourage more investment in mineral beneficiation projects. I think that is the sort of common challenge that we face but South African companies are certainly involved and we are encouraging them to do so, to become more involved in Africa. If you look at China, China has been growing on the basis of export led growth but it now turning to grow its domestic market.

India has grown off its domestic market, Brazil has a sizeable domestic market now people have said before what would have happened if China had been divided into 54 countries instead of being one domestic market. It would have looked very different to what it is today because when we look at us our domestic market as an individual country we have

Minister Lindiwe Sisulu: There are two questions here, one is on the Airbus, the other one is on the Budget and there is a third one on the serviceability of our equipment on the continent. No we have not yet recovered out investment into the Airbus venture. As we have always indicated this was a primary condition of our contract with Airbus that should we withdraw before a particular cut-off time we would be able to recover what we had put in.

Unfortunately this has not been possible yet; the driving force in our negotiations with Airbus has always been Armscor so we have been working through Armscor. We finally resorted to asking Treasury to assist us in this matter and therefore Treasury is communicating on behalf of the South African Government with Airbus and we hope to hear from them soon. And we have given them 12 to 18 months to pay back and live up to the contract, so in 18 months time if they haven’t we will look at what options are available.

On the Budget, I didn’t know I was coming across as complaining all the time about the Budget; I try not to because it doesn’t endear us to the Treasury. But yes indeed our budget is woeful and we need to do something about it. We have been trying to put across a particular message the best way we can that we have saved, we have saved on Airbus, we have saved on every aspect we could possibly save on to ensure that we can get a bigger slice of the Budget. We were considering requesting R5 billion extra this year, this will take us from R34 billion to R39 billion.

Now I am going to sit myself right at the front seat tomorrow to hear whether in fact this has come through, if not I will pick up my bags and walk straight out. But this is my wish list and if we cover that basic jump from R34 billion to R39 billion we will be able to just scrape by. We are hoping that perhaps it can get better and better because our requirements are getting more and more.

We are still concerned about the serviceability of our equipment out in the continent. However I am informed by my officials that we have since signed a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations (UN) which assist us with the inspection of our equipment and assist us depending on the area that we are at on ensuring that there is sufficient serviceability to the level that it is possible for them to agree to.

However I am not certain, I am hoping that very soon perhaps we can invite the Portfolio Committee to go out to the areas that we are deployed and these are some of the issues we would like to deal with and see if in fact we are getting value for money for our involvement in peacekeeping forces from the major bodies that we are attached to, the UN and the AU. And perhaps at that particular time we will also invite Defence Web to come along and check this particular issue if in fact we are getting that level of serviceability. I think Chairperson we are done with most of the questions. We have asked for R5 billion, I am corrected, we asked for R5 billion we were given R500 million, so I might as well start packing now.

Issued by: Department of Defence
22 Feb 2011