Four month delay for Defence Review


South Africa’s wider defence community will have to wait at least four months to find out how much the 2012 Defence Review is going to change this vital component of the national landscape.

Review Committee chairman Roelf Meyer met with Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula on two occasions recently (on 29 October and 5 November) to discuss “what next” for the more than 400 page document.
“She indicated she wanted some technical amendments made as well as saying its tabling in Parliament would only happen in March next year. She also requested the Committee’s working period be extended until then,” Review Committee spokesman Captain (SAN) Jaco Theunissen said.

The Committee was established by former Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu in July last year to review and update the existing Defence Review and White Paper on Defence. This, she said at the time, was because existing policy documents primarily provided for transformation in the SA National Defence Force (SANDF). This has been achieved and now changes in government policy, particularly as regards foreign policy and international relations, also meant changes in the use of the military as an instrument of government.

Overall Meyer and his team were tasked to produce a draft blueprint with a short and long term focus on the SANDF and the local defence industry.

To ensure as comprehensive a draft review, for approval of the Minister and onward submission to Parliament, as possible committee members engaged with the senior command of the SANDF, the local defence industry, research organisations and think tanks as well as NGO’s, CBO’s and the public. This input was added to the original draft and work completed, as requested by the end October.

Staff working at the Review Committee’s base of operations, the Erasmus Castle on the Armscor campus in Pretoria, are currently contacting Committee members.
“We have to find out from them whether they can they still be available for Defence Review work,” Theunissen said.
“All Committee members were nominated by Sisulu and they also wear other hats so it might be difficult for them to continue.”

As examples he cited North West Premier Thandi Modise and Rear Admiral Phillip Schoultz, SA Navy: Flag Officer Fleet.