The Joint Standing Committee on Defence is dismayed by media reports suggesting that the Committee is made of “lazy” Members of Parliament, thereby impeding the implementation of recommendations made in the 2014 Defence Review. The suggestions are even more worrying because they are attributed to a member of the Committee, Mr David Maynier.
The Committee is aware of the urgency required for the revitalisation of the country’s defence forces. It is with this in mind that the Committee has placed the processing of the Defence Review on top of its list of priorities. It is thus worrying that Mr Maynier suggests that the Committee has only met once to process this important policy document.
It should be placed on record that since the Defence Review was tabled in Parliament in July 2014,the Committee has met to consider the policy on three occasions.
This is despite the fact that the Committee was only established in October 2014. These interactions include a three-day workshop where the Committee dealt only with the Defence Review.
It is interesting then that during this workshop, attended by the Minister of Defence, that neither Mr Maynier nor any member of his political party attended. “This then raises the question of who is the lazy party among the members of the Committee,” said Mr Malusi Motimele, the Co-Chairperson of the Committee.
Furthermore, the Committee has in the past week released media aertisements calling for public comments on the Defence Review. The Committee is cognisant of the centrality of consultation in the policy making process. It is thus mischievous to suggest that the Committee is dysfunctional and is holding the Defence Review hostage.
The Committee is awaiting submissions in relation to the public comments as the closing date for those is 7 February 2015. Following this, the Committee is scheduled to meet on 20 February 2015 to conduct public hearings.
The Committee is aware of the importance of the South African National Defence Force in the protection of the sovereignty of this country. The Committee is processing the Defence Review within the necessary framework and will do so with the necessary urgency.
ISSUED BY PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THECO-CHAIRPERSONS OF THE JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE
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Source : Parliament of South Africa