Take part in defence review: Sisulu

2012-04-12 19:04

Pretoria - The country's defence policy has become out-dated and irrelevant, Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said on Thursday.

She was commenting after receiving a draft report from the defence review committee in Pretoria. It would mark the start of a public consultation process, she said.

"The draft is open for comments and proposals and from now on, the committee will be engaging with the broader South African society to draw the best possible consensus on the future defence trajectory."

The defence policy outlines the defence force's objectives, its functions, capabilities and allies, and the mechanisms governing its operations.

"Participation of South Africans will be critical and key stakeholders, including the defence force, partners and communities will be consulted."

Sisulu said the committee was mandated to draft a policy supportive of government priorities and be responsive to the country's developmental requirements.

The previous review, adopted in 1998, was preoccupied with the integration of the statutory and non-statutory armed forces following the negotiated transition of 1994, said Sisulu.

Interaction on social networks

"This review moves significantly beyond the narrow and internal focus of the 1998 one. It unpacks the constitutional mandate, other statutes, South Africa's international obligations and the work government expects the defence force to do," she said.

The orientation and definition of thematic areas had already been dealt with as had the drafting of the consultative part and the review and refinement phase.

A number of consultative events had been lined up, starting with the committee's meeting with the parliamentary committee on April 18.

The report would be accessible on the committee's website and interaction would also take place on the social networks Facebook and Twitter.

Independent review committee chairperson Roelf Meyer said the review would take a new view of the role of the defence force under a new time period.

"We are working from the point of establishing new goals for the national defence force, including tasks flowing from those goals," he said.

Goals set out in the draft include the safeguarding of South Africa and its people by securing borders and prioritising support for the police service.

Purpose not to combat crime

Meyer cautioned that the use of the military in civilian activities, including crime combating, should be kept to a minimum.

"The purpose of the defence force is not to combat crime, that is the function of the police and that line should be kept very clear.

"That's a constructional requirement, and only where there is a dire need for the involvement of the defence forces can the president authorise that," he said.

Sisulu said steps had already been taken to limit defence force involvement in civilian matters.

At the moment, arrangements for military support could be made by provincial police commissioners.

"We are going to ensure that we take it [authority] out of the level of commissioners and ensure that the necessary authority can only be given at the highest level when we deploy armed forces in support of police," she said.

Sisulu said interventions to fight rhino poaching remained heightened, although crime trends had shifted to privately owned reserves where it was "very difficult" to deploy soldiers.

"It is in our national interest to protect the rhinos; we are doing our best along our borders. We are committed to do that," she said.

  • Piet - 2012-04-12 19:31

    Outdated after you have blown how many billions on the arms deal. And for protecting our borders, tell that to themillions of zimbos that walk accross the Limpopo everyday. It think you must resign and aim for something higher like the Iron ladyof south africa.

      Eugene Walters - 2012-04-12 19:40

      there are more than 10 million foreigners nats in SA what do you want to protect when its them destroying our beautiful country catch awake-up my girl

  • Hans Heydra - 2012-04-12 20:13

    Sadly... The arms contractor with the most to gain and who is willing to pay the most bribes will decide the future of the SA military. Not the public!

  • Kyle - 2012-04-12 22:31

    I think its time our soldiers, who sit doing very little at bases, start earning their pay. \r\n\r\nAs for the army not getting involved in fighting crime, that needs to be rethought. Our cops are corrupt. Not all of them, but enough to cast doubt over them all. Get the army out after dark. Make the streets safer. also get them to patrol the borders. Keep the unwanted elements out. Also, bring back conscription. A 12 month stint in the army will teach discipline. Something our youth highly lack. \r\n\r\nFinally, can the defence minister be someone with military experience and not some political ally of certain comrades.

      Andre - 2012-04-13 07:48

      I personally will be very scared if they let an undisciplined bunch out on our streets to "combat" criminals. Our defence force simply does not have the necessary training, leadership and discipline to fulfil that task. They will be worse than the police!

  • maseratifittipaldi - 2012-04-12 23:52

    Correct. The enemy is no longer beyond our borders, but within.

  • Keith - 2012-04-13 06:04

    Another Arms Deal on the way. And, No. Our army is not useless, they can still terrorise SA citizens in KNP.

  • Johnnie - 2012-04-13 09:54

    When the thinking is on getting the Defence Force better, the first thing to do would be to get rid of the Minister of Defence. She has not the faintest idea of what she must do. The South African Defence Force was one of the best Defence Forces in the world, the ANC was very lucky to get a complete force - and they broke it down to being a joke. It is no good having lots of aeroplanes, cannons and ships and you do not have the personnel to man them. The SAAF was one of the topnotch Air Forces in the world, today they are down to flying club status, compared to what it was.

      En - 2012-04-13 10:04

      And just this month 4 SAAF Gripens shot down 9 enemy aircraft to a loss of 1 at Exercise Lion Effort 2012 in Sweden. Flying club status? Interesting

  • Jim - 2012-05-14 13:54

    Call up all the old SANDF, SAAF and SAN troepe.. We can show this bunch of pathetic soldiers a thing or two about discipline , and PROPPER , soldiering, airmanship and seamanship. For the “new” folks in the defence force, it’s just another job, but in uniform. Well it’s not meant to be. One should serve with pride, show off the fact that you are proud.. today they are so slapgat.. What a shame.. As for the ships in the naval dockyard Simonstown, what a sick joke they are, in fact, the whole bloody things a shambles......Oi..

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