Finalisation of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Service Commission is taking longer than expected “because of procedures including vetting”, The New Age newspaper has reported.
In August Department of Defence spokesman Siphiwe Dlamini said more than 700 names had been submitted as possible commissioners after Minister Lindiwe Sisulu announced in February the commission would become a permanent feature of the national military landscape.
He said at the time expected finalisation of the between eight and 10 Commission members would be such that it could start work in September. “The process (of selecting commission members) is taking longer than expected because of procedures that have to be followed. Part of this is vetting,” Dlamini said.
While he was “all in favour of a Service Commission to regularly review conditions of the country’s servicemen and women”, DA shadow defence and military veterans minister David Maynier felt it “was a pity the delay is being put down to vetting, most probably by Defence Intelligence”.
The creation of a permanent commission follows an incriminating report by an interim commission on conditions experienced by SANDF members as regards poor and sub-standard accommodation and ablution facilities at a number of military bases as well as salary levels not commensurate with the duties airmen, sailors, medics and soldiers are performing, TNA reported. The salary scales were re-adjusted, with back pay, soon after the interim commission’s report and Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde’s Public Works Department has outsourced at least one contract to upgrade facilities at 21 SA Infantry Battalion’s Doornkop quarters.
When it finally comes into being the SANDF Service Commission will be tasked with the overall welfare of the SANDF’s more than 64 400 uniformed personnel and the 12 700 plus civilians working for it and the department.