Defence Review to Parliament before the end of July?


Further progress and hopeful approval of the Defence Review depends on the Presidential diary coinciding with that of his Minister of Defence and Military Veterans.

That’s the word from a source close to the Review, who told defenceWeb the target date for the 420 plus page Review to go to Parliament was before the end of July.

This differs somewhat from an official statement issued by Parliament which indicated the Review would be tabled in the National Assembly before the end of the Fourth Parliament. The current and fourth Parliament will be dissolved sometime towards the end of the first quarter of next year in anticipation of national elections.

In July 2011 then Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu appointed chairman Roelf Meyer and his six-strong committee, supported by a six member resource group, to review the status and operating mandate of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF). The resulting Defence Review document has been redrafted twice. Sisulu initially planned to table to Review in Parliament last October but this was delayed by her being moved to another Cabinet post and replaced by Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

One of the points the Review makes is provision for out-of-country deployments by the SANDF, something not contained in the 1996 White Paper on Defence. The South African military machine is now an integral part of government’s foreign policy and has been used in any number of peacekeeping and peace support deployments. These have been either as part of an AU or UN mission or stand-alone, as happened with the Central African Republic (CAR) earlier this year.

The Review, defenceWeb’s source said, was “now essentially complete bar two chapters extracted for later finalisation”.

The Review has been presented to the extended Cabinet – Ministers, Deputies and directors-general of the security cluster. The next step is for it to proceed to President Jacob Zuma, also Commander-in-Chief of the SANDF, before a Cabinet presentation and then to Parliament.