Address by ANC MP, DD Gamede on the Defence Amendment Bill

Input by the ANC MP, Dennis Dumisani Gamede on the Defence Amendment Bill B18-2017, 11 September 2018

1. ANC Policy Orientation

South Africa's national interest is centred on the advancement of its sovereignty, democracy, national values and freedoms, and its political and economic independence. South African national security focuses on its sovereignty and other related priorities of territorial integrity; constitutional order; the security and continuance of national institutions; the well-being, prosperity and upliftment of the people and the growth of the economy. South Africa's national security inextricably hinges on the stability, unity and prosperity of the Southern African region, and the continent in general.

South Africa's military capability are commensurate with South Africa's international status, strategic posture and inescapable leadership role. The defence force plays a vital, unique and contribution that complements South Africa's diplomatic efforts and enhances South Africa's influence within wider international development. As South Africa expands its leadership role, it concomitantly assume the obligation to provide experienced military leaders and proficient military forces for peace missions and other military operations on the African continent.

1.1 Objectives of the Bill

The amendments are intended to align the Defence Act, 2002, with current departmental organisational requirements that will enhance the efficiency of the Department of Defence.

2. Contextual Analysis of Clauses

  • the bill under clause 1 has been able to formalize the appointment and position of the Chief of Staff which is now included in the Military command of defence and has complied with the practice that the chief of staff be part the military command structure.
  • Under Clause 2 the Bill has been able to provide a clear explanation in terms section 8 (e) concerning implementation by the chief of Defence Force on delegated powers and assignment of duties to members by the secretary for defence as an accounting officer of the Department. In terms of this clause the secretary cannot directly delegate any of his function to members of the defence force without the chief of the South African defence force, as would it now in conflict with the command and control principle which was not the case before the amendments.
  • Clause 16 is able to provide clarity on the contentious issues raised by honourable members concerning criminality on unlawful possession or wearing military uniforms or distinctive marks in that it would be regulated anew by the amendment of section 104.
  • Furthermore clause 3 proposes compliance with international law be adhered to in that employment of the Defence force outside the Republic be made in terms of international law. The amendment seeks to expand the international deployment of SANDF by not restricting it to international waters and the approach is consistent with international law.
  • Clause 7 proposes to clarify that a person does not need the consent of an employer to enrol as, or to remain, a member of the Reserve Force. This amendment of section 53 enables the Reserve Force component of the DOD to attract incumbents to join the Reserve Force, without the employer having to consent to such enrolment
  • Clause 9 proposes an amendment to the requirements for legal representation for members in order to align section 60 of the Defence Act, 2002, with the Treasury Regulation regarding legal representation of SANDF members provided by the State in respect of acts committed in an official capacity
  • Clause 6 proposes improved regulation of the minutes of meetings of the Council of Defence (COD). The amendment of section 44 aids in regulating the minutes of proceedings of the COD, as the highest command body in the DOD. These amendments relate to noting the matters arising from previous meetings, recording of all decisions and allocation of security classifications to decisions.

3. Concluding Remarks

The Defence Amendment Bill is envisioned to align the Defence Act, 2002, with current departmental organisational requirements that will enhance the efficiency of the Department of Defence which is one of the highest policy imperatives of the ANC Government. The amendments provides clarity on a number of issues which will enhance efficiency and effectives in the Department of Defence in terms of the command and control structure which is essential in the operation of the Department of Defence. The ANC therefore supports the amendments.