The National Defence Force Service Commission has commenced work. Defence minister Lindiwe Sisulu appointed an interim 10-person commission yesterday, adding that they would start operating immediately and report back to her office and Parliament on a regular basis.
The commission is headed by Judge Lebotsang Ronnie Bosielo of the North Gauteng High Court and includes experts from the civil society, academia and business sector. It does not seem to include any labour or human resources practitioners.
Other members include Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana, deputy chair of the President’s Advisory Council on National Orders as well as Major General (retd) Lambert Lehlohonolo Moloi, director of Denel and a former chief of the Service Corps of the South African National Defence Force
Also on the commission is former SANDF Chief of Policy and Planning Maj Gen (retd) Rashid Aboobaker Ismail, now general manager and head of currency and protection services at the South African Reserve Bank, was also appointed as a member of the Commission, Professor Renfrew Christie, economist and Dean of Research at the University of the Western Cape; Vice Chancellor of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Professor Derrick Swartz and Dr Anna Mokgokgong, a medical doctor and business leader.
Other members are United Democratic Movement leader and Member of Parliament Maj Gen (retd) Bantu Holomisa, Freedom Front Plus MP and defence spokesman Pieter Groenewald as well as African National Congress MP and chair of the Joint Standing Committee of Defence and Military Veterans, Hlengiwe Mgabadeli.
Sisulu says the commission will be an independent body and will provide expert advice to her on all matters related to the conditions of service of the members of the military.
As such it will parallel the Public Service Commission (PSC) that does the same for the broader civil service.Sisulu repeated that military personnel were not ordinary public servants. “Their terms with us as the state is very different from that of the public service. If indeed in the end that means paying them better I will be the first to agitate for that, but I`m very mindful of the fact that we are in a recession…”
She adds the absence of labour or HR experts is not untoward. “It has nothing to do with the unions. If they want to make a presentation to the commission they are free to do so.”
A statement issued by her office overnight added that the distinction between the SANDF, the intelligence services and the rest of the public service was recognised in law in that “legislators have determined that the Labour Relations Act should not be applicable to the Defence Force, the National Intelligence Agency and the SA Secret Services.”
The statement adds that during her tenure as Minister of Intelligence, “we crafted a separate dispensation for the Intelligence Services in appreciation and acknowledgement of the distinctive role they play in society. The Defence Force is not any different and Cabinet approved a new dispensation for them.
“In addition, the Constitution enjoins us to develop the Defence Force into a disciplined, professional force precisely because of the role it plays as the last bastion to defend democracy and to protect our territorial sovereignty.
“Armed with this knowledge and insight, I stated in my budget vote that one of the priorities of my tenure would be to review and improve the conditions of service of our soldiers. I have repeated this commitment in various platforms and audiences. The establishment of this Commission is the latest in a series of steps aimed at this objective.
“I have discussed this matter with the President in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the SANDF, and the Cabinet, which endorsed the proposal to establish a National Defence Force Service Commission. Draft legislation, which will establish the Commission, is being prepared.
“I also have very wide general powers to do all things necessary for the effective defence and protection of the Republic and its inhabitants in terms of section 80 of the [Defence] Act. This includes ensuring that the concerns of members of the SANDF are addressed satisfactorily. This will enable them to fulfill their constitutional and legislative functions. These are to maintain national security, which reflects the resolve of South Africans to live as equals and as a nation, to live in peace and harmony, to be free from fear and want, and to seek a better life.”
I must, therefore, make regulations regarding the conditions of service of members of the Defence Force and labour relations between members and the State as their employer, including the resolution of disputes and the establishment of mechanisms necessary for the regulation of the said labour relations and the administration and management of such matters in terms of section 82.
The Commission will among other things consider the following:
· investigate and make recommendations regarding remuneration and the conditions of service of members of the Defence Force; and
· 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.
The statement adds that determining the appropriate remuneration, allowances and benefits to be paid to members of the armed forces will require the following:
· An analysis of the purpose, duties, responsibilities, powers and activities attached to the various positions in the armed forces;
· The evaluation and grading of all posts;
· An analysis of existing conditions of service, salaries, allowances and other benefits before and after tax deductions, pertaining to the Defence Force;
· A comparison with compatible positions elsewhere;
· The conversion of existing remuneration structure(s) or system(s) to a ‘total remuneration` system/structure; and
· A comprehensive implementation plan and costing for the conversion to the “total remuneration” structure.
Sisulu adds that the commission will “interact with” the Council of Defence, a statutory body that she heads, and brief it on its work from time to time.
“It must also interact with the soldiers through the due protocols of the Defense Force and other relevant role players and interested parties. This will enable the commission to make appropriate recommendations to the executive.
The Commission will function “until the Defence Act has been amended to create a National Defence Force Service Commission, or such other time as I may decide.”
The allowances to be paid to the members of the Commission will be determined by me in consultation with the Minister of Finance.
MR JUSTICE LEBOTSANG “RONNIE” BOSIELO
Judge of the High Court (North Gauteng)
Interviewed for permanent appointment to Supreme Court of Appeal (announcement pending)
Former Acting Judge President of Northern Cape
Former Acting Judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal
Presiding judge: “Boeremag” trial
Presiding judge: Dave King tax fraud trial
BISHOP MALUSI MPUMLWANA
Head of Northern Diocese of the Ethiopian Episcopal Church
Deputy chair of the President`s Advisory Council on National Orders
Chairperson of the National Development Agency
Executive Chair of CIDA City Campus
Board member of the Historic Schools Project
Former Africa Regional Director for W.K. Kellogg Foundation
GENERAL LAMBERT LEHLOHONOLO MOLOI
Former Chief of the Service Corps of the SANDF
Director of Denel
Director of Futuristic Business Solutions
Chairman of 3C Telecommunications
RASHID ABOOBAKER ISMAIL
General Manager and Head of Currency and Protection Services: SA Reserve Bank
Former SANDF Chief of Policy and Planning
Appointed Major General in newly formed SANDF in 1994
Key negotiator post-1990 in formation of integrated SANDF
PROFESSOR RENFREW CHRISTIE
Economist and Dean of Research at University of the Western Cape
Writer on politics and economics, military and naval affairs, the history of science and technology, and nuclear history
Awarded Certificate of Commendation of the Chief of the SA Navy in 2005 for his work in transforming the navy
Founding member of Macro Economic Research Group(MERG) and the National Institute for Economic Policy
Chair of the Board of Community Law Centre at UWC
Former chairperson of anti-apartheid newspaper, South
Former political prisoner, convicted for passing information on the apartheid nuclear weapons programme
PROFESSOR DERRICK SWARTZ
Vice-Chancellor and CEO of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Board member of the Association of Commonwealth Universities
Former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Fort Hare
Credited with Fort Hare`s academic renewal and financial turnaround
Former member of Presidential Review Commission investigating the functioning of the public service (1996/1997)
Former SABC board member
Former Port Elizabeth high school teacher and community activist
PIETER GROENEWALD MP
Freedom Front Plus Member of Parliament (1989-)
Member of the Executive Council of the Freedom Front
Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Defence (1994-1999)
Subsequently served on standing committees on Safety and Security, Labour and Defence
Former Mayor of Stilfontein
A lawyer by training
ANC Member of Parliament (1999- )
Chair Joint Standing Committee on Defence and Military Veterans
Member of Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans
Former member of Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Administration
Co-Rapporteur to Inter-Parliamentary Union on Cooperation between parliaments and the United Nations in promoting world peace (2006)
DR ANNA MAKGOKONG
Medical doctor and business leader
Served as Chairperson of the Unisa Council, and a member of Council of the University Pretoria
Member of the Independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office Bearers (2004-2009)
Chief Executive of Community Investment Holdings
Executive Chairperson: Malesela Investment Holdings
Voted one of the leading women entrepreneurs in the world by Star Group (US) in 1998
GENERAL BANTUBONKE HARRINGTON HOLOMISA MP
Member of Parliament (1994-1996 and 1999- )
Leader of the United Democratic Movement
Member of the Portfolio Committee on Communications
Former Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism
Leader of the Transkei Military Government (1987-1994)
Commander, Chief of Staff and Major General: Transkei Defence Force
SA Army College Senior Staff Course for Officers (1984)