Media Statement: Sisulu: Defence Review



It is a pleasure and a privilege to present to you the draft consultative Defence Review. I constituted the Defence Review Committee in July 2011 in order to draft and consult nationally on a new Defence Review which will comprehensively cover the complete body of South Africa’s national policy on defence.

As you are aware, South Africa’s defence policy is premised on the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (Act No 108 of 1996) the Defence Act, 2002 (as amended), the White Paper on Defence (1996) and the Defence Review (1998). However, the White Paper on Defence (WPD) and the Defence Review (DR) require regular review and updating in order to ensure continued relevance and legislative compliance.

The Defence Review Committee presides under the Chair of Mr Roelf Meyer with Premier Thandi Modise as the Deputy Chairperson. The purpose of today’s engagement is to publically release a consultative draft of the Defence Review which will form the basis for extensive public engagement on both the short term and long-term Defence Policy of South Africa. It will identify defence objectives and specify defence functions, and pronounce on the strategic defence posture, defence capabilities, defence alliances and security institutions or mechanisms that will govern the operations of the defence force.

The Terms of Reference required the Defence Review Committee to have a “mandate driven” approach. The Defence Mandate is clearly articulated in the 1996 Constitution as, being the only lawful military force in the Republic, the protection and defence of the Republic, its sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interests and people, in accordance with the Constitution and the principles of international law regulating the use of force. Defence functions are further defined in the 1993 Interim Constitution and the Defence Act, 2002. Various other Constitutional prescripts also inform that mandate. The Defence Review is therefore required to provide the following:

A defence policy that is supportive of the Government’s priorities and strategic intent.

A reviewed, or confirmed, defence mandate with associated defence functions, high-level tasks, strategic concepts, doctrine, capabilities, level of effort and structure.

A sound policy to determine the Defence Force design and force structure blueprint, as well as the future defence fiscal and resource framework.

It is also a requirement that the Defence Review addresses the following key considerations:

The primary objective of the National Defence Force arising from Constitutional imperatives and the defence statutory framework as well as the defence contribution to South Africa’s developmental priorities.

The strategic security environment, longstanding trends and emerging sources of insecurity.

The defence contribution to national security and an expression of South Africa’s national interests.

South Africa’s ‘strategic purpose’ being that strategic role that South Africa must play on the Continent, and the Southern African Region in particular, and an understanding of the Continent’s expectations of South Africa.

The defence contribution to South Africa’s international relations policy, international relations strategy and international obligations.

The future defence posture, future defence commitments, required levels of readiness and required defence capabilities to meet those commitments.

The relative size of Regulars and Reserves in the Defence Force.

The nature and scope of the South African Defence Industry, its products and its domestic and international strategic partners, the manufacture, marketing, sales, export and transit of South African armament and related goods and services.

The Defence Review is further required to have both a “short and long term focus”. The short term being the Medium Term Expenditure Framework and the Long-Term being the next 30 years. The Defence Review thus seeks to achieve a broad, cross-cutting and independent perspective of the future growth trajectory of the SANDF and to map out a path to achieve these objectives.

The Defence Review does not limit itself to high-level policy and strategy matters. Although it does address these comprehensively, it also focuses its attention on matters of defence doctrine, defence capabilities, defence structural arrangements and the accounting for resources provided. The Defence Review thus:

Firstly, sets a long term policy and strategy agenda for Defence that will set the stage for the next thirty years of defence effort. This does not mean that the Defence Review will not be reviewed and augmented in the next decade, but that it provides a stable base against which long term plans can be set and budgets aligned with its intent.

Secondly, it is comprehensive and detailed by engaging defence matters at a strategic level without venturing too much into the operational and tactical level of debate.

Thirdly, it pronounces sufficiently on the continuum of policy, strategy, structure and force design needed to set a stable long term defence planning agenda.

Fourthly, it expresses high level defence doctrine.

Fifthly, it requires the Defence Force to unpack the Defence Review into concrete long-term plans and programmes.

In closing I want to express my sincere gratitude to the members of the Defence Review Committee for an excellent document to facilitate the public consultative process. Your hard work and serving our country unselfishly, not just during working days but also after hours and over weekends, are truly appreciated.

I thank you.