Sisulu - SANDF de-linking pay from rank

2012-05-17 22:28

Cape Town - Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu on Thursday provided details of the SA National Defence Force's new dispensation to come into effect this and next financial year.

Among other things, soldiers' salaries would be adjusted to recognise years of service, she told the National Assembly during debate on her budget vote.

"Essentially we are de-linking salaries from rank. Because of the sheer size of the defence force a great number of our soldiers are trapped in particular ranks with no prospect of improvement of their salaries," she said.

The Defence Force Service Commission was tasked to deal with this as a matter of priority and by the next financial year it was expected to reflect on soldiers' salaries, within budgetary limits.

To ensure children's welfare was not compromised when their parents were deployed, all children between the ages of three months to five years would be taken care of by the department, within the existing framework of free primary school care criteria for deployed soldiers.

"Every base, every facility will have to provide crèches or pre-schools. Gone are the days when men were soldiers and women stayed at home to look after the children.

"We have a responsibility to free our women soldiers to pursue their careers in the same way as men have always been free to do.

"The necessary policy to support this has already been drafted and approved. And therefore this takes effect this financial year," she said.

Bigger accommodation

The provision of high quality, reliable, and right-sized accommodation for soldiers was the singular most urgent priority.

"It is for this reason that I have commissioned a defence estate reforms programme that will rationalise defence estate and ensure that there is internal capability to plan, provide, operate, and maintain all properties belonging to the defence force."

Sisulu stressed it was the responsibility of every soldier to ensure that the environment where they lived represented their sense of pride.

Soldiers were required to keep their bases in spotless condition, and officers commanding would have to structure the bases in such a way to ensure proper management of the properties and ensure they were kept in good condition.

Every soldier would be able to convert his training into academic qualifications. The SANDF's training programme was being restructured to align it to SA Qualifications Authority (SAQA) requirements so that the totality of courses undertaken by soldiers would qualify as commensurate tertiary qualifications.

This meant that no soldier would leave the force, should they choose, unqualified.

A housing allowance scheme would be tailor-made to suit the organisational uniqueness of the SANDF and a housing subsidy scheme would be investigated and implemented, Sisulu said.

- SAPA
Read more on:    sandf  |  lindiwe sisulu  |  military
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