Still no Parliamentary progress for Defence Review

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There is still no clarity on when the Defence Review will make it to Parliament with Secretary for Defence, Dr Sam Gulube, intimating it could stand over until after the May elections.

Gulube told the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans that finalisation of the review was almost complete.
“Cabinet has seen the draft and sent it back for further input. This was done and the final draft now awaits Cabinet,” Cape Town daily Die Burger reported him as saying.
“The Minister (Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula) will table the Defence Review in Parliament once it has been approved by Cabinet.”

The paper reported him as saying he was “unsure” whether the current Cabinet would receive the Review or whether it would only be submitted to the new Cabinet due to be announced by the President soon after the May 7 elections.

Opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party shadow defence and military veterans minister, David Maynier, who is a member of the committee, remarked that “if the Review is not successful, the defence force cannot be either”.

The tight deadline given to Roelf Meyer and his Defence Review committee by former Defence and Military Veterans Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, was to accommodate her wish to have it tabled in Parliament in October 2012.

This saw Meyer and his 12 committee members travel extensively consulting with the defence sector, civil society and any number of think tanks to obtain as wide an input as possible on what South Africa’s military should look like and how it should be structured to meet the security challenges of the future.

Sisulu’s brief to Meyer and his team would enable government to comprehensively review the national defence policy as set out in the 1996 White Paper on Defence and the 1998 Defence Review. Neither of these documents detailed the utilisation of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) as a foreign policy instrument, a tasking that has grown with South Africa now a troop and equipment supplying nation to both AU and UN peacekeeping missions in Africa.

As part of it terms of reference the committee had to include both a short and long term focus. The short term focus being government’s medium term expenditure framework (a five year period) and the long term the next 30 years.