SANDF morale 'may be security threat'

2010-11-04 17:08

Cape Town - The morale of troops in the SA National Defence Force is so low it could pose a threat to state security, Democratic Alliance MP David Maynier told the National Assembly on Thursday.

He accused Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu of having "misled" both Parliament and South Africa by withholding reports on the matter.

"The defence force, and the men and women who serve in (it), are in deep trouble. But rather than sharing information... with the people's representatives, information about the defence force has been hidden.

"(Minister Sisulu) has refused point-blank to hand over the interim reports of the national defence force service commission... and so I have decided to do the right thing and begin to read extracts from one of these reports in this Parliament.

"And just so we know how serious things have become, let me begin by quoting from the conclusion of this report, which reads: 'There is a clear need for a wide variety of matters to be attended to. Some of these matters, if not addressed immediately, are likely to further affect the morale of troops and could even threaten state security'.

"Now how is it that we are in a situation where the military itself could threaten state security?

"Using successive members' statements, I will read extracts from the interim reports. These will show not only that the defence force is in deep trouble, but that the minister misled the Speaker, misled this Parliament, and misled the people of South Africa."

Maynier, who serves on Parliament's defence portfolio committee, said he would not allow the reports' contents to remain hidden.

Responding, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said Parliament had accepted Sisulu's reasons for withholding the reports.

"It is really amazing that the honourable member is looking for a report which he has, which even some of us, as members of Cabinet, we don't have.

"You keep on calling for the minister to deliver the report. Reasons have been given as to why, and I think those reasons have been accepted by Parliament... ," he said.