Sisulu talks tough

2012-05-19 17:26

How does the department of defence plan to take care of female soldiers’ children up to the age of five when the budget is inadequate for military programmes?
The intention is to free women to go to work.

An ordinary soldier cannot employ someone to help with a child because that means subsidising the state to use you for 24 hours.

The state has got to make sure it takes care of the other responsibility that would otherwise require your attention.

Children will have crèches all over the country and the state will have to find money to provide
this benefit.

How will you convert military training into academic qualifications?
There are a lot of courses required for every military rank, but when soldiers leave the defence force, they can’t use them for anything else.

We need to make sure there is a cumulative effect, the recognition that they are certified or that they have a degree.

Our military academy and staff training colleges are not certified.

We’re in discussion with the South African Qualifications Authority to accredit these facilities and make sure we get the maximum benefits out of them.

Ultimately, we’ll have our own university.

Why professionalise the defence force?
We are increasingly dealing with a world that is changing.

Technology is creeping up, the battle space is changing and we’re now dealing with serious cyber-threats.

The professionalisation of the defence force makes it a cutting edge technology provider.

The other matter is that we are trained to fight, but the Auditor-General wants us to account in assets and in value.

We don’t count the bullets we use, we have no auditors, we have no accountants, it’s been a huge burden to shift defence into a department that is accountable like others.

We’ll make sure by the time soldiers are at officer level, they understand the implications of the law, the policies, human resource management and are competent to deal with them.

Why do we still have suspended soldiers earning salaries with a bill estimated at R150 million almost three years after suspension?
Nobody remarks on the Boeremag trialists who earned their salaries from the defence force until they were found guilty.

These were people who were charged with treason, but they continued to get their salaries.

This case is in the courts, so it’s out of our hands.

In the past we were bound by Public Service regulations, where people were entitled to their salaries while a disciplinary process was under way.

Now we are out of the public service, we will be able to draft laws that allow us to deal with serious cases like this within our own jurisdiction of the military justice system.
Are you using the Military Ombudsman to ban trade unions from the SANDF?
The unions are not a threat to the defence force; they serve no purpose to anybody.

Whether the unions are there or not, we would still have provided this.

It’s the law.

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