Any measures to improve discipline in the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) are to be welcomed is Freedom front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald’s reaction to the revamped Military Discipline Bill.
“Discipline is needed to properly enforce any law or rule,” he said, adding the changes would only benefit the defence force if properly implemented.
As an example he cited a military base in Potchefstroom where members “openly boast about reporting for duty and only staying on base until 10h00”. defenceWeb has heard of similar occurrences at various bases in and around Pretoria, notwithstanding morning and afternoon rollcalls.
Groenewald said another reason his party supported the Military Discipline Bill was because “it is unacceptable to see media reports of guards sleeping on duty or being attacked and their weapons and ammunition stolen”.
“Poor discipline such as this is simply unacceptable. The necessary measures will soon be in place and the Minister (Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula) must see to it that discipline is upped.”
She can do this because the Bill grants powers and competencies to, amongst others, make military bases and facilities safer, he said.
“Regardless of what laws or rules are put forth, successful implementation depends solely on the discipline with which members enforce them. It is necessary to drill discipline into members by means of proper training – only then will a law that aims to improve discipline be of any use,” Groenewald said.
The bill was one of five approved by Cabinet at its August meeting following its passage through the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).
An indication of the long path the bill followed before it reached its current stage can be judged from it going to no less than 14 different government departments/organs of state for input. A specially appointed Department of Defence (DoD) task team also liaised with the State Security Agency for input as well as extensive consultation with the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster Development Committee to “satisfy its socio-economic assessment requirements”.