The National Defence Force Service Commission (NDFSC) is calling on the interested public to assist it with its task of advising defence minister Lindiwe Sisulu on service conditions in the South African National Defence Force.
The commission, chaired by serving Judge Lebotsang Bosielo, held its first meeting with Sisulu and the military leadership yesterday. Sisulu appointed the body last month following a salary protest turned mutinous riot at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on August 26.
Sisulu has said she conceived the commission before the protest that saw members of the SA National Defence Union protest poor service conditions and salaries in the military.
“We would like to call on all stakeholders in the SANDF family to meet with us and to share with us their experiences and contributions for us as a people to build a SANDF that we will all be proud of,” the commission said in a statement issued by the Ministry of Defence on the body’s behalf after the meeting.
The statement adds the meeting discussed “in detail” the terms of reference and the mandate of the Commission.
“The commissioners were officially briefed of the processes followed since the appointment of the minister and the deputy minister (in May) to address in a comprehensive and long term approach the challenges facing the SANDF.
“These include improving the conditions of service of the defence force and the process to establish a permanent Commission to manage the service conditions and military relations of the South African National Defence Force,” the statement added.
Bosielo committed the NDFSC “to address the immediate concerns and issues and make interim recommendations by end of December 2009”.
He also said the NDFSC “will soon announce the location and contact details of our secretariat and make public our defence sector stakeholder engagement plan.”
The North Gauteng High Court justice added that the NDFSC will be an “independent and impartial commission” that will seek “to consult with different stakeholders in the defence family and make the necessary recommendations”.
The commission is tasked with investigating the remuneration and conditions of service of SANDF personnel and making recommendations on the subject to Sisulu.
It must also “make recommendations to ensure that personnel procedures relating to recruitment, transfers, promotions and dismissals comply with the values and principles set out in sections 195, 198 and 200 of the Constitution and the provisions of the Defence Act and any other applicable laws and regulations.”
“South Africans need to go to sleep knowing that they have a happy defence force that is ready to defend them anytime of the day, and our contribution is that of creating a happy, disciplined and professional SANDF, Bosielo said.
Pic: Sailors on parade, December 2008.