Defence Review gathering dust in Parliament

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It’s not often that David Maynier, the DA shadow defence and military veterans minister, will agree with Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula but when it comes to the Defence Review they are of the same mind.

Maynier points out the Review, originally known as the 2012 Defence Review because that was when it was supposed to be completed and tabled in Parliament, eventually made it to the National Assembly as the 2014 Defence Review early in July.
“It has now become bogged down in Parliament which is unacceptable for a long term policy review setting the defence direction for the next 20 to 30 years. It also contains far-reaching recommendations to reverse the critical state of decline of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF),” he said.
“The Review has been gathering dust in Parliament for nearly three months. The Joint Standing Committee on Defence must make recommendations to the Minister (Mapisa-Nqakula) on the Review.
“National Assembly speaker, Baleka Mbete, referred the Defence Review to the Joint Standing Committee on July 16, but for some reason this committee has not even been established in Parliament,” he said adding the Defence Review show has to “get on the road because, in the end, if it does not succeed, the SANDF will not”.

A worrying point for the former submariner is the recommendation to establish a defence force comprising 189 000 personnel in 158 combat units and consuming R88 billion a year (2,4% of GDP) is either necessary or affordable.
“This I see one the principal disagreement that will arise when the Joint Standing Committee begins its deliberations on the Defence Review.
“That there is going to be disagreement about the Review should not delay its progress through Parliament,” he said adding he had requested Speaker Mbete to ensure the Defence Joint Standing Committee was established as soon as possible.