The co-chairman of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence, Malusi Motimele, has denied allegations of laziness among Committee members and maintains the Committee is processing the Defence Review “within the necessary framework and with the necessary urgency”.
He was responding to opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party shadow defence and military veterans minister David Maynier, who claims the Committee is dragging its heels when it comes to dealing with the Defence Review, already more than two years old.
The former submariner earlier this week said the Parliamentary Programme Framework provided for a committee period between January 27 and February 11.
“This could have been used to consider aspects of the Defence Review but, sadly, not a single meeting has been scheduled for the committee period,” he said.
Motimele maintains, in a statement issued by Parliamentary Communication Services, the Committee “is aware of the urgency required for the revitalisation of the country’s defence forces (sic). It is with this in mind that the Committee has placed the processing of the Defence Review on top of its list of priorities. It is thus worrying that Maynier suggests the Committee has only met once to process this important policy document.
“It should be placed on record that since the Defence Review was tabled in Parliament in July 2014 the Committee has met to consider the policy on three occasions. This is despite the fact that the Committee was only established in October 2014. These interactions include a three-day workshop where the Committee dealt only with the Defence Review. It is interesting then that during this workshop, attended by the Minister of Defence, that neither Maynier nor any member of his political party attended. This then raises the question of who is the lazy party among the members of the Committee,” the statement reads.
Neither Maynier, nor his defence colleague Shahid Esau, attended the workshop held at the upmarket Lord Charles Hotel in Somerset West in protest at its high cost. The DA felt the workshop could have been held in a Parliamentary facility or another venue in or closer to Cape Town and contribute to cost savings.
Part of the work the Committee is undertaking in dealing with the Defence Review includes public participation. This has seen “media advertisements calling for public comment on the Defence Review released this week”.
The closing date for submissions is February 7 and the Committee will meet on February 20 to conduct public hearings.
The official Parliament website today still shows only one member of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence – co-chairman Motimele. The names of the other committee members, supplied by Parliamentary Communication Services, are: “Co-chairperson: Emmanuel Mlambo, George Michalakis, David Maynier, Mnyamezeli Booi, Tekoetsile Motlashuping, Cathrene Dlamini, Dennis Gamede, Bongani Bongo, Nokhaya Mnisi, James Skosana , Sizani Dlamini-Dubazana ,Paul Ramakatsa and Shaid Essay.”