The opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) says it is concerned that the final report of the Interim National Defence Force Service Commission, which caused a stir last year, is being “buried” in Parliament.
“Neither Mr Stanley Motimele, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, nor Mr Jerome Maake, Chairperson of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence, have included the final report on the draft programme of either committee,” party defence shadow minister David Maynier says in a statement.
“The final report was submitted to Parliament last year and is a complete indictment of the political, civilian and military leadership of the defence force over the past decade,” he says. “There is evidence in the final report of the failure of military leadership, a breakdown in the chain of command, the collapse of military discipline, the implosion of the grievance system, and shocking service conditions for soldiers, all of which have adversely affected the combat readiness of the defence force.”
The report also makes far-reaching recommendations that will go a long way toward improving the state of the defence force, “provided they are implemented.”
How is it, then, that the final report does not appear on the draft programme of either the Joint Standing Committee on Defence or the Portfolio Committee?
“We cannot allow the final report of the Interim National Defence Force Service Commission to be buried in Parliament. The contents of the report need to be discussed and debated in open meetings of the defence committees in Parliament. I will, therefore, be writing to Mr Motimele, Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, and Mr Maake, Chairperson of the Joint Standing Committee, to request that a comprehensive set of hearings be scheduled to consider the final report of the Interim National Defence Force Service Commission.
“By not including the final report on the draft programme, the new defence chairpersons have created the impression that they are ‘gun-shy’. This will be the first test, not only of whether the new defence chairpersons are prepared to stand up to the minister, but also whether they are prepared to confront the hard issues facing the defence force.”