The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, tabled the Defence Review on 03 July 2014 in Parliament.
The Defence Review is the most important review of defence policy in more than a decade and has major implications for the future of the Defence Force.
The Defence Review made a brutally honest assessment of the Defence Force.
The Defence Force, according to the Defence Review, is: “… in a critical state of decline, characterized by: force imbalance between capabilities block obsolescence and unaffordability of many of its main operating systems a disproportionate tooth-to-tail ratio the inability to meet current standing defence commitments and the lack of critical mobility.”
Moreover, the Defence Review found that: “… even with an immediate intervention, it could take at least five years to arrest the decline and another five years to develop a limited and sustainable defence capability.”
There is therefore an element of urgency: every day that is wasted talking about the Defence Review, rather than implementing the Defence Review, accelerates the decline of the Defence Force.
By agreement the Defence Review is the top priority of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence. However, in the past six months the Joint Standing Committee on Defence has only scheduled one meeting on the Defence Review.
The Parliamentary Programme Framework specifically provides for a “committee period” between 27 January 2015 and 11 February 2015 for parliamentary committees, such as the Joint Standing Committee on Defence, to meet and conduct oversight visits.
This means that ten days, spanning 80 hours, of meetings could have been scheduled for the Joint Standing Committee on Defence on the Defence Review.
However, not a single meeting has been scheduled during the committee period for the Joint Standing Committee on Defence.
The Joint Standing Committee on Defence will spend the next ten days marking time and doing absolutely nothing at Parliament.
The Joint Standing Committee on Defence’s current rubber-stamp programme envisages dealing with the Defence Review, which is a 344 page document, based on 436 stakeholder meetings, 76 public submissions, and cost the taxpayer nearly R11 million, in three meetings, spanning 10.5 hours, between 20 February 2015 and 05 March 2015.
I am not going to sit back and allow the Joint Standing Committee on Defence to rubber-stamp the Defence Review and have proposed and alternative programme comprising of eighteen meetings including, critically, briefings on the:
military preparedness of the Defence Force
downsizingrightsizing of the Defence Force
defence acquisition priorities of the Defence Force and
affordability of the proposals made in the Defence Review.
In the end, it’s a disgrace that the Defence Force is being held hostage by lazy and disinterested Members of Parliament serving on the Joint Standing Committee on Defence.
Source : Democratic Alliance