Deputy Minister, KB Maphatsoe
Chairperson and Members of the Portfoio Committee
Members of the Extended Public Committee
Secretary of Defence and Senior Managers of the DOD
Chief of the SANDF and members of the Military Command Council
Senior Managers of the Department of Military Veterans
Our members joining us through the live feed from our bases, I want to take this opportunity to welcome you all on the occasion of the presentation of our Budget to the Extended Public Committee of the National Assembly. In particular allow me to introduce to you our new Deputy Minister, Hon KB Maphatsoe who has now joined our team in the Ministry in the new term of the Administration. I also want to welcome both our returning and new members of the Portfolio Committee and those that will serve on the Joint Standing Committee on Defence.
Also allow me to recognize various of our stakeholder and guests, amongst whom are the stalwarts and veterans of our Armed Forces, including members of the Luthuli Detachment and first High Command of Umkhonto we Sizwe, members of communities, the Defence Industry and senior managers and commanders.
Let me start by inviting all of us to give a thought once more to the plight of the people of Gaza in Palestine, who are currently caught up in a campaign of military aggression led by the Israelite government. We want to start the introduction of this debate by once again making a call for a cessation to hostilities within that region as it has already resulted in the unnecessary loss of human life and untold suffering of women and children.
Today we convene to participate in the debate for the Budget Vote for both the Department of Defence and the Department of Military Veterans. This specific debate is singularly the most important in a long time, considering its coinciding with the tabling of the 2014 Defence Review for finalization by Parliament, and following a few months after we gazzetted the Military Veterans Regulations. The finalizing of these two process constitute an important part of the strategic basis for our work in the next five years and our planning processes for the entire Medium Term Strategic Framework.
20 years since the birth of the SANDF as a single, united national asset, the country is engaged in a useful but long overdue public discourse about the mandate and scope, the design and resourcing of the Defence Force going into the future. This discourse, based on the 2014 Defence Review, is finally now here in Parliament, and accordingly therefore, must constitute a significant part of this Budget debate today.
Chairperson, it is important for me to outline this basic focus of the debate from the onset, so that the expectation of both Parliament and the South African people are aligned to our thinking about what this debate should achieve.
While there are many current topical issues and ongoing programmes within the Defence environment, our work in this financial has to be subject to the implementation program for the Defence Review once finalized by
Parliament. We do hope, therefore that, given its centrality to our planning, Parliament will treat the finalization of the Review as a matter of critical urgency.
Honourable members will will recall that, in adopting the current Defence Review for tabling in Parliament, Cabinet directed that
“The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans ensures that the Military Strategy, Force Structure, force design, capability, acquisition plans and funding trajectory, are translated into long term defence development programme which is aligned and integrated into government planning cycle.”
This task constitutes the broad programmatic thrust of Ministry and its two departments
The Ministry has in the meantime created a full time capacity to develop a methodology for implementation of the Defence Review once finalised by Parliament.
We are looking at a Defence Development Programme spanning 20 years, divided into four Medium Terms Strategic Framework Periods of 5 years each. The first one is the current MTSF from 2014/15 to 2018/2019 Financial Years. This the next five years strategic programme of the Ministry shall entirely be based on those aspects of the Defence Review for the first MTSF period.
The Strategic Intent of the Ministry in the next five years will be built into the planning cycle of government and shall be aligned to support the National Development Plan (NDP), the New Growth Path and the Industrial Policy Action Plan. In addition, it is also going to be important that the implementation of the Defence Review takes into consideration the tasks and commitments for Defence arising from the new National Security Strategy.