DA: Sisulu must release report
Cape Town - Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu must "back down" and release the interim reports on how soldiers' service conditions affect the combat readiness of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), the DA said on Monday.
Democratic Alliance MP David Maynier, who sits on the portfolio committee on defence and military veterans, said the reports by the National Defence Force Service Commission (NDFSC), provide vital information on the effect of soldiers' conditions of service on the combat readiness of the SANDF.
"The interim reports must be provided to the portfolio committee so that committee members are fully briefed on the effect of soldiers' service conditions on the combat readiness of the SANDF," Maynier said.
"The portfolio committee are currently legislating in the dark.
"Committee members must pass legislation to provide for a permanent national defence force service commission, which will go a long way to improving soldiers service conditions in the defence force, but committee members cannot be briefed on service conditions in the defence force."
'Hit a brick wall'
The first interim report was submitted on November 5 2009 and makes findings on the effect of soldiers service conditions on the combat readiness of the SANDF.
The second interim report, which reportedly contains damning findings including the fact that the "morale of troops" may threaten state security, was submitted on December 10 2009.
It makes recommendations on soldiers' remuneration and the establishment of a permanent national defence force service commission.
"The minister has not only dug in her heels and refused to release the reports but has gone further and tried to suggest that the first interim report submitted on November 5 2009 did not really exist because it was a work in progress," Maynier said.
"This makes no sense at all. The bottom line is that we have hit a brick wall."