Feisty opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) MP David Maynier is again not holding back when it comes to a Parliamentary committee he serves on and he has lashed out at leadership of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence (JSCD), not only for its apparent tardiness as regards the Defence Review but also a host of other defence issues.
The committee was set to hold a meeting last Thursday but it apparently did not take place prompting him to say: “All indications are the JSCD is going to rubber stamp the Defence Review. Proposals for a comprehensive process to deal with the Review, including briefings from National Treasury, submitted early in December and re-submitted on February 20 this year, have been ignored.
“Three perfunctory meetings including an introductory briefing on the Review by the Minister (Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula), a second introductory briefing by the four SA National Defence Force (SANDF) service chiefs and public hearings have been scheduled. This is simply not good enough,” he said adding the matter of how the JSCD deals with the Review is has now been escalated to the Chief Whips’ forum in Parliament.
Maynier proposes separate briefings for relevant chapters of the Defence Review. These include those dealing with the South African state, a developmental perspective; the strategic environment; comparative defence expenditure; defence and national security; defence mandate, principles, missions, goals and tasks; defence concepts, capabilities and principles; level of defence effort; blueprint force structure and for design guidelines; civil control and the future defence organisation; cross-cutting defence support interventions; defence functional resources and the defence industry.
The former submariner would also like to see the JSCD allocate time to the downsizing/rightsizing of the SANDF; acquisition priorities as well as, what he termed “an all-important” briefing by National Treasury on the affordability of the 2014 Defence Review.
Other issues he has submitted to the JSCD for consideration include briefings on the findings of the boards of enquiry into the C-47TP crash in the Drakensberg in December 2012; the March 30, 2013 Agusta A109 crash in the Kruger National Park; the SAS Queen Modjadji’s “unplanned contact” with the seabed on July 17, 2012 and the Cessna Caravan crash near Lydenburg last June.
A call earlier this year, by the JSCD, for public input to it on the Review saw only a handful of submissions from, among others, the Defence Force Service Commission, the CSIR and the SA Association of Stills Producers.