Hon Deputy Speaker and hon members, the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans resolved to hold a strategic planning workshop jointly with the Joint Standing Committee on Defence. The objectives of the joint workshop were to consolidate focus areas of work; strengthen working relations; improve the quality of oversight capacity of the Department of Defence and Military Veterans as well as related defence structures such as the SANDF, Defence Service Commission, Military Ombud and the defence industry; and to avoid duplication in the work of the respective committees.
Hon Deputy Speaker, some of the key challenges that were identified relate to the role of the defence committees. I will address this when I am on proposed recommendations. The other area is the membership of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence. This committee is too huge and very difficult to manage. On numerous occasions, if not every occasion, a quorum is unattainable and this impacts negatively on decision-making. With regard to the sanction in terms of noncompliance with the Rules of Parliament, the workshop felt that the sanction was not sufficient when a member who was in a meeting divulged information that was discussed in a closed meeting, especially the sanction of the docking of one month's salary of that the relevant member. Therefore, this needs to be revised.
The workshop made the following proposals to deal with the challenges: that the draft defence strategy recommendations will inform the workings of both committees; the overlapping of activities be addressed by redefining the roles and responsibilities of the two defence committees to ensure optimal synchronisation and avoid duplication; and that the composition of the committees be changed by a decision of the Joint Rules Committee. This amendment should take into account section 228(3) of the Interim Constitution 1993, which deals with the composition of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence.
To eliminate duplication, the broad key mandate of both committees, which would inform their operations, were defined as follows: The Joint Standing Committee on Defence should consider and report on the deployment of the SA National Defence Force, SANDF, in fulfilment of international obligations or in defence of the country; and make recommendations to the House on a declaration of the state of readiness by the President. The Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans should exercise oversight over the Department of Defence and Defence-related entities, including the Defence Force Service Commission.
In conclusion, hon Deputy Speaker, the workshop and the investment therein have been groundbreaking in that it has resolved long outstanding matters of duplication and the focus of the two committees. It has ensured the necessary clarity and it will go down in the history of the Fourth Parliament as a milestone in addressing oversight. Both committees proposed that the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans and the Co- chairperson of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence should write to the Speaker and the Chairperson of the NCOP respectively to propose amendments to the relevant Rules of Parliament, especially those pertaining to the membership of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence for this Fourth Parliament. The report is tabled for adoption. I thank you, hon Deputy Speaker. [Applause.]