Explain that, Minister! [Interjections.]
This picture provides incontrovertible evidence that the SANDF was deployed in the DRC. These Defence Force elements may have been deployed for a perfectly legitimate military reason, but that is not the point. The point is that Parliament was never informed about the deployment of the SANDF in the DRC to support operations in the CAR. [Applause.]
Hon member, your time has expired.
This is incontrovertible evidence that President Zuma did not fully inform Parliament about the deployment of the SANDF to Gemena in the DRC.
Hon member, your time has expired! [Interjections.] Hon member, do you want to be removed from the House? [Interjections.] Hon member! Hon Maynier, please don't disgrace this House with bad behaviour like that in future. Have respect for the Constitution and have respect for this House. [Interjections.]
Hon Chairperson, I want to tell the Minister that I have tried Zam-Buk, lipstick and Vaseline on my lips in the hope that they will look a little attractive. Maybe she will reconsider what she said about my ugly lips in our debate. I have tried my best, Minister. [Laughter.]
From the outset, do I dare advise this House that the Congress of the People has a problem with supporting this budget? [Interjections.] The hon Minister will recall very well that a few weeks ago, if not a month ago, I said something that I want to repeat again here. Hon Minister, when the legacy and history of President Jacob Zuma is told, I'm afraid the good name of your father ... [Inaudible.] ... Mapisa, will be mentioned along with his name. [Interjections.] Be careful.
In the space of a month, a second scandal has occurred and it has happened on your watch, Minister. This Budget Vote has earned you the new, but notoriously unintended, title of the Minister of Defence and Gupta Affairs. [Applause.]
Alongside the controversial report submitted here yesterday, who do you think this illusive No 1 is?
Who is No 1? Explain who it is! [Interjections.]
Cope reports ...
Hon members, I said that heckling is acceptable, but shouting across the House is unacceptable. Continue, hon member.
Cope requests that your good office refers this question to our rocket scientist to pinpoint the location and name of this elusive No 1 who has caused you, personally, your department, your party and, of course, our country such great pain.
Publicly, according to the Guptagate report, we know of Tony Gupta, Ambassador Koloane, the Airports Company of South Africa's Bongani Maseko, Minister Martins, the political adviser to the Minister, Michael Ramagoma, the Chief of the SA Air Force and Lt Col S J van Zyl, but please, tell us who this mysterious No 1 is. [Interjections.]
As the Minister rightly pointed out, her office was the first department to be approached to perform this miraculous feat so that a private family could hold its wedding, and the request was, rightly so, turned down. However, it seems that the Minister personalised the request. She kept it to herself and never cascaded it down to her subordinates, because if that had happened, we wouldn't have had the situation where somebody was dropping names and saying that No 1 had said this or that.
Cope would like to ask the Minister ... [Interjections.] ... how this request was ascended to her office. If it came via the right protocols and channels, surely she was duty-bound to inform her "ladder" about the events and her decisions for their attention.
It is common knowledge that the Minister kept it to herself. What does that say about the nature of the Minister's relationship with the military high command of the SA National Defence Force ... [Interjections.] ... the nature of her communications and the importance which she as the Minister places on sensitive military matters?
As the Minister came into the ranks of this highly sensitive and specialised department as a civilian, attention to detail is imperative, and so is the execution of commands, lest our country ends up having made so many enemies that we can't control them.
The Minister should admit that this was reckless, that military protocols were broken and that personal emotions reigned over professional conduct. She should also admit that the mention of the infamous No 1 in this case is enough to make anyone shake in their pants, including her. [Interjections.]
The report on Guptagate should be dismissed with the contempt it deserves. [Interjections.] This is not Social Development, but Defence. [Interjections.] The Guptagate report should be dismissed, because it is nothing but a fallacy aimed at exonerating the President and his Cabinet.
Reports are surfacing that, contrary to what the report is suggesting, more than one plane is believed to have landed at Waterkloof Air Force Base. The Minister's resignation will not be contested, together with that of other Ministers of the Cabinet. [Applause.] This is a national embarrassment, and it cannot be that the post-landing party was so clear-cut, and performed with such military precision, from the Department of Home Affairs to the police escorts. The Minister should take the blame and take the fall. Why did she decide to put the livelihood of unsuspecting civilians under so much duress?
When the world knows who No 1 is, where is the Minister going to hide? I am sure that by that time the Gupta family will afford you refugee status in their R18 million Saxonwold mansion, which has now been re-evaluated to R490 000, of course to avoid tax.
The government is spending a lot of time and energy trying to straighten out the department for the Minister, and yet it should not be so. Your predecessor, who now holds the Public Service portfolio, is undertaking the right kind of clean-up. She is performing. We are seriously worried about you. Remember, Minister you left the unresolved multibillion rand Bukasa scandal behind in Correctional Services. What are you going to do about this one? Can you act against this invisible No 1 without fear or favour? Unless you know differently, you can become another victim, like the Koloanes. We are not going to support this Budget Vote. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Hon Chairperson, our SA National Defence Force, SANDF, is the sharpened tip of the spear in defence of this nation, its people and its borders. For the year 2013-14 the Defence Force will receive an allocation of R40,24 billion, and the IFP will support this budget. [Applause.]
Yet we have a Defence Force that is still struggling in many respects. Our landward defence capability requires drastic improvement to give them technologically advanced primary mission equipment. Our infantry forces desperately need to be equipped with new generation combat capability, and the budget increase of 6,5% in this regard is very welcome.
Our Defence Force's core mandate is the protection of the country, its territorial integrity and its people. Clearly, they are struggling with this task. You would be hard pressed to find a more porous border. People stroll across our borders on a daily basis without any concern or hindrance. Poachers from Mozambique have free rein in our national parks, mutilating our elephant and rhino populations, and then quietly and without incident return to their country of origin to profit from their horrendous trade. This is because not enough resources are being made available for the Defence Force to perform its function to its fullest extent.
Our airspace is obviously just as porous, what with the recent assault on Waterkloof Air Force Base by the Gupta family and friends. This will forever remain a total embarrassment to our Defence Force. Every single person in the chain of command who had knowledge of or who should have had knowledge of and/or who authorised such a grave security breach at this National Key Point should be fired and criminally prosecuted.
Our peacekeeping operations have also been dogged with numerous challenges. Some of these deployments were ill planned and ill equipped, and resulted in the unnecessary loss of lives, such as in the Central African Republic, CAR. In this vein, we seriously urge the hon Minister to take great care when we deploy our troops to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They do not have the combat readiness or equipment for that environment, nor the home ground advantage that the rebels do. We also urge stringent follow-up, Madam Minister, with the African Union and the UN in respect of mission expenses that must be recovered.
We are currently in a serious economic downturn, with unemployment skyrocketing. We are aware that the Defence Force has been asked to decrease serving members by 10 000 over the next three years. What is the department doing or going to do to skill these workers in order to prepare them for their entrance into the marketplace and to make them employable and competitive?
The National Youth Service is another very important strategic priority of the department. We welcome the recruitment of our young people into the various arms of the Defence Force, as by so doing we are teaching them the admirable character traits of discipline, fitness and honour, and creating patriotism for our country. However, we are concerned that the criteria for recruitment is not clearly spelt out and this opens the entire programme up to abuse whereby only youth from the ruling party echelons will benefit. The IFP urges the Minister to implement a programme with full transparency as soon as possible.
Madam Minister, the maintenance of defence facilities, notably the military barracks, must be given priority attention. Therefore we will urge that the migration of works from the Department of Public Works to the Department of Defence and Military Veterans is expedited.
Madam Minister, we also hope and trust that it will not be long - and I will buttonhole you to that - before our self-protection units and self- defence units qualify for benefits as military veterans.
In conclusion, our Defence Force currently has many challenges to face and overcome. However, these are not insurmountable and we are confident that with the right leadership these challenges can and will be met. We call on the Minister and her chain of command to be ruthless in the eradication of all ills that currently plague this department. We call on the Minister and her chain of command to remain apolitical in all military actions, as they are mandated to be. We call on the Minister and her chain of command to restore pride in the uniform of soldiers of the SANDF. I thank you. [Applause.]
Hon Chairperson, hon Ministers, hon Deputy Ministers and hon members, the UDM supports Budget Vote No 22. [Applause.]
Niza kuyeka ukuqhwaba ngemizuzu nje embalwa. [Kwaqhwatywa.] [You will stop applauding in a few minutes. [Applause.]]
President Zuma's decision to reshuffle the Cabinet a few months ago slowed down the progress the department has made since 2009. We are pleased to hear from the Minister today that at last the inordinate amount of time the department took to finalise the Defence Review and appointing permanent Defence Force Service Commissioners is finally bearing fruit.
This House will recall that the Interim National Defence Force Service Commission tabled a report which recommended that government reviews the 1998 Defence Review with a view to allocating adequate resources to the task of building an effective Defence Force, among others. This is particularly critical in the light of our obligations and mandate to maintain peace and stability here at home and on the continent.
Hon Minister, allow me to be critical of your style of running your department.
Hayi kakubi, sisi wam. [Not in a bad way, my sister.] The nation is concerned about the fact that you are spending most of your time out of the country, attending to some insignificant issues, rather than in the country, running your department. If the majority of your trips had any significance, the department would have benefited from them.
With regard to your overseas trips, the UDM is still considering where to direct a sensitive question about the close proximity of a UK-based company and a certain Zimbabwean citizen to your office.
Your failure to prioritise the department and its needs could be seen in the dismal manner in which you handled the Central African Republic fiasco. Whilst you were busy gallivanting around Durban during the Brics bash our troops were engaged in a 13-hour battle with the rebels in the CAR. You did not even deem it appropriate to leave the bash and join the SA National Defence Force commanders in Pretoria. It took almost 48 hours to hear from you.
In conclusion, hon Minister, you failed to provide leadership in the CAR fiasco in that you have thus far neither established a board of inquiry to look into the matter, nor have you briefed this House on your department's operational report on it, if there is any. Thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Agb Voorsitter, as ek net my tydaanwysing kan kry, sal dit goed wees. Ek wil begin deur te s 'n land en sy mense wil trots wees op hul Nasionale Weermag. Hulle wil 'n Nasionale Weermag h wat professioneel en gedissiplineerd is, en die mense moet vertroue kan h in daardie Weermag, sodat hul internasionale integriteit beskerm kan word.
In hierdie jaar was daar twee krisisse en eintlik 'n skandaal in Suid- Afrika en elke keer was dit 'n vingerwysing na die SA Nasionale Weermag. Die Minister het vandag ges dat sy nou na die prosedures en rels aangaande Waterkloof kyk en dat dit opgegradeer sal word. Dit is te min, en te laat! Die skade is reeds berokken. Dit is onaanvaarbaar.
Wanneer ons kyk na die Sentraal-Afrikaanse Republiek, wil ek dadelik s dat ek daardie mans en vroue in uniform salueer wat hulle op die gevegsterrein onderskei het. [Tussenwerpsels.] Dit is onaanvaarbaar as gekyk word na die gebrek aan logistieke en intelligensiesteun. Dit skep die indruk dat die Nasionale Weermag onprofessioneel is.
Ek wil vandag vir die Minister s dat dit nie professioneel is wanneer die publiek moet lees dat 'n duikboot teen die kaai vasgemeer het en skade opgedoen het nie. Dit is nie professioneel wanneer 'n duikboot die bodem van die see in 'n veiligheidsoefening tref nie. Dit is nie professioneel wanneer 'n Dakota-vliegtuig in die berge vasvlieg nie. [Tussenwerpsels.] Dit is nie professioneel wanneer 'n helikopter in die Krugerwildtuin val nie.
Ek wil vandag vir die Minister s - want niemand wil dit vir haar s nie, want dit is nie polities korrek nie - dat die probleem in die SANW nie net 'n dissiplineprobleem is nie, maar ook 'n opleidingstandaardprobleem. Ek wil vandag 'n beroep op die agb Minister doen dat die Nasionale Weermag vrygestel moet word van die transformasiebeleid van die regering.
Ek wil vandag vir die Minister s dat die transformasiebeleid veroorsaak dat opleidingstandaarde in die Nasionale Weermag verlaag word om mense te akkommodeer. 'n Vliegtuig is nie 'n voertuig wat sommer deur enigiemand bestuur kan word nie. Dit verg hoogs opgeleide personeel.
Ek wil vandag vir die Minister s, as sy nie die opleidingstandaarde gaan verhoog nie, sal daar meer ongelukke in die Nasionale Weermag gebeur. Ek wil ook vir u s dat dit onbillik teenoor die belastingbetalers is om meer geld te kom vra - en ek vra altyd meer geld - en ... [Onhoorbaar.] ... dit word nie gebruik nie. [Tyd verstreke.] [Applous.] (Translation of Afrikaans speech follows.)
[Mr P J GROENEWALD: Hon Chairperson, if I can just have my time indication, it will be fine. I want to start by saying that a country and its people want to be proud of their National Defence Force. They want a National Defence Force that is professional and disciplined, and the people must be able to have confidence in that Defence Force so that their international integrity can be protected.
In this year there were two crises and actually a scandal in South Africa, and each time it was a pointer to the SA National Defence Force. The Minister has said today that she is looking into procedures and regulations as regards Waterkloof and that they will be upgraded. This is too little, too late! The damage has been done. This is unacceptable.
Looking at the Central African Republic, I can immediately say that I salute those men and women in uniform who have distinguished themselves on the battlefield. [Interjections.] It is unacceptable when considering the lack of logistical and intelligence support. It creates the impression that the National Defence Force is unprofessional.
I can tell the Minister here today that it is not professional when the public has to read that a submarine was damaged while mooring at the quay. It is not professional when a submarine hits the ocean floor during a safety exercise. It is not professional when a Dakota aircraft flies into a mountain. [Interjections.] It is not professional when a helicopter crashes in the Kruger National Park.
I want to tell the Minister today - seeing that nobody wants to say this to her, because it isn't politically correct - that the problem in the SANDF is not just a disciplinary one, it is also one of training standards. I want to appeal to the Minister today for the National Defence Force to be exempted from the government's transformation policy.
I am telling the Minister today that the transformation policy is causing a lowering of training standards in the National Defence Force in order to accommodate people. An aircraft is not a vehicle that can be operated by just anyone. It requires highly trained personnel.
I want to tell the Minister today that if she does not lift the training standards, there will be more accidents in the National Defence Force. I can also tell you that it is unreasonable towards the tax payers to come and ask for more money - and I am always asking for more money - but then ... [Inaudible.] ... not being used. [Time expired.] [Applause.]]
Hon Chairperson, members of the executive present in the House this afternoon, hon members of the defence committees of Parliament, the House at large, our distinguished guests and stakeholders in the public gallery this afternoon, compatriots, ladies and gentlemen, armed with a fresh mandate after the 2009 elections, the President proceeded consciously to assign to the former Ministry of Defence the responsibility to look after military veterans. Our budget debate this afternoon signals the commencement of the hardest push to deliver on this mandate as we enter the home strait towards the finishing line of a tough but fulfilling race which commenced four years ago.
Before I proceed with my remarks, it behoves me to pause and join speakers before me in paying my respects, once again, to the memory of several of our soldiers who fell in the line of duty during the year under review, not forgetting their families. Their pain and sacrifice is a reminder to us to treat our duties with respect and soldier on in the service of our country, our people and progressive humanity. [Applause.]
As a ministry, we enter the last year of programmatic work in government, buoyed up by the confidence that we now stand on solid ground to realise the important goal of restoring dignity to a segment of South Africans who served their country with honour, at great cost to their individual lives as soldiers, for the good of us all.
As hon member Motimele said, our Constitution enjoins all of us:
To recognise the injustices of the past; honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land; and respect those who have worked to build and develop our country.
The 1994 Reconstruction and Development Programme further stated that:
No political democracy can survive and flourish if the masses of our people remain in poverty, without tangible prospects of a better life. Attacking poverty and deprivation must therefore be the first priority of the democratic government.
In spite of the drag of cynics and obstructionists of different persuasions who, among others, sought to trivialise a significant policy intervention of this magnitude by suggesting that it was financially ill conceived and only aimed at serving the narrow interests of some within the ruling party, it is good that today we have all arrived at the mountaintop together.
As Nelson Mandela said, we all now understand "that to heal, we had to lance the boil". Then we should all agree that those whose lives were disrupted and were worse off after the lancing of the national boil must become our collective responsibility.
Furthermore, the second objective of our military veterans' policy, which is looking after tomorrow's military veterans as they exit the Defence Force today and in the future, is a logical consequence of the post-1994 policy, which ended national conscription and established the SA National Defence Force as a professional military organisation. Today, as we commence work of our final year in this administration, we have legislation for military veterans in place which was crafted as a synthesis of the best policies and practices you can find across the widest spectrum of governments globally, from both the developed and the developing world. We have a stand-alone Department of Military Veterans, which is steadily growing into a mature department with protocols that structure its interface with other government delivery agencies. We have a budget for benefits, which will progressively grow with our delivery uptake. We have an impeccable verified database of bona fide recipient military veterans already upwards of 10 000. We have been incrementally providing interim support to military veterans and their dependants even before the budget for benefits was made available from 1 April this year.
Allow me to return to the seminal milestones to underline the work done since last year this time, to highlight to this House our achievements, challenges and future plans.
One of the vital pieces of homework the Department of Military Veterans had to deliver on in the past financial year, in order to expedite the delivery of benefits, is the tabling of regulations to provide for modalities and procedures necessary for the implementation of the Military Veterans Act, No 18 of 2011.
It was initially envisaged that these regulations would be in Parliament by the end of March last year. We must admit that our work has been sloppy regarding this assignment. However, I am relieved to report that these regulations are now tabled in Parliament, and I wish to thank all those who contributed to making this possible. We respectfully trust that the members of the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans will expeditiously improve these regulations and assist us to regain lost time. Application forms for benefits and guidelines have also been developed.
Hon members, the department is steadily growing. It has started the process of establishing provincial offices and structuring its relationship with the other tiers of government involved in caring for military veterans, namely the provincial governments and local government. Memorandums of understanding have been signed with some of the Social Development cluster component departments nationally. However, the process of staffing the department is still moving very slowly, hence its continued reliance on seconded Department of Defence personnel and members of the Reserve Force.
The Department of Military Veterans was able to increase the critical interim support to military veterans, as promised in the last financial year ... [Interjections.] ... thanks to an additional R50 million top-up allocation which the department received at the end of the third quarter of the 2012-13 financial year. The department was able to double the number of military veterans who are accessing free health services. Over 4 000 military veterans are already receiving free health care. Nearly 1 000 of them have been issued with health care identity cards. [Applause.] This was subsequently put on hold due to the shortage of resources, and will be resumed shortly.
The department has also commenced with providing burial support to military veterans who die destitute. The target of assisting 100 dependants of military veterans with bursaries was achieved.
Furthermore, a memorandum of understanding has been signed with the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, NSFAS, in which the Department of Military Veterans will also serve as a conduit for deserving students. A memorandum of understanding is also being negotiated with the Department of Basic Education.
We have also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Human Settlements to build 519 houses for military veterans in this financial year, based on the budget that the Department of Military Veterans has at its disposal, to top up the RDP grants that military veterans will get.
Working with the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs, the Department of Military Veterans is in the process of placing 700 military veterans in jobs offered by that department in its labour-intensive projects. Our department has also concluded a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Land Affairs, which will offer business opportunities to military veterans in Rural Enterprise and Infrastructure Development programmes.
Alongside the above interventions to improve the quality of life of military veterans, in the past financial year the Department of Military Veterans has, on a significant scale, commenced the programme of bestowing honour on military veterans, the living and those who are no more today, to reclaim their space in our communities and our lives that they rightfully deserve. Three medal parades were staged in the course of last year to honour the generation of participants in the armed struggle against apartheid as part of the observance of the 50th anniversary of uMkhonto weSizwe.
In keeping with heraldry's stringent guidelines and practice, aimed at protecting the prestige of our military honours, about 400 recipients were decorated with a variety of medals that ranged from recognition of service to bravery and merit. Among these distinguished individuals are the first President of the democratic South Africa, President Nelson Mandela; former President Thabo Mbeki; and Comrade President Jacob Zuma.
On behalf of the Ministry, I wish to thank all members of the Medals Task Team, some of whom are in the gallery this afternoon, for their dedication and inspirational work. Indulge me to single out some of these members for mention, because they are Members of Parliament and the Portfolio Committee on Defence. They include hon member Andrew Mlangeni, hon Eric Mtshali, some former Members of Parliament such as Ruth Mompati, Ike Maphotho, James Ngculu, and Thenjiwe Mthintso, and the former Secretary to Parliament and convener of the task team, Ambassador Sindiso Mfenyana, among others. [Applause.]
It is our hope that in the fullness of time this programme will not only bring a sense of self-worth to the individuals involved but, most importantly, it shall serve as a valuable opportunity for mass public education about the struggle for democracy in South Africa and the repository of its unadulterated ethos for our young generations to value the spirit that must define our nationhood.
As we said last year, this year we stand only a few months away from the centenary of the commencement of World War I in 1914. In these very Chambers in September 1914, at a special session of both Houses of Parliament, with 92 votes to 12 in the National Assembly, and 24 votes in the Senate, a decision of Cabinet was confirmed to take South Africa to war as a British dominion. As they say, the rest is history.
This is the context in which we will be revisiting the tragic story of the sinking of the SAS Mendi in February 1917 through our research project that will be conducted over the next four years, taking us to the centenary of the SAS Mendi.
However, as hon members will appreciate, the challenge in the context of the entire World War I is even bigger than the SAS Mendi tragedy, not only because the Union Defence Force - in which South Africans of all colours fought - was a colonial army, but also because of the account postulated in the majority of history literature in our country and the inadequate expos of the real cause of the war; because of the hopes and fears of South Africa's disparate racial communities of the time; because of the way Africans were recruited and the realities of native war-time service in the Union Defence Force; because of the socio-political ramifications of military service; and because of the implications of war-related social change among sections of the African population. It is for all the above reasons that the experience of World War I is of immense value in our heritage.
Time permitting, we must also point out that one of the important tasks the ministry is seized with, as the Minister has already said, is the finalisation of the SA National Defence Force Review report - SA Defence Strategy 2030. In this regard we must once again commend the Defence Review Commission, as the Minister said, which has been ably led by honourable Roelf Meyer, for the diligent way in which they executed their assignment and the high quality of the product they generated. The country and the world we live in today pose very difficult questions, with far-reaching consequences for the resources at our disposal as a country. That notwithstanding, we must not, out of trepidation for the possible social ramifications of the choices we must make, commit a monumental mistake which may in the end cost us everything we have.
For three decades of South Africa's military force under the first apartheid Republic, it was honed and organised as a counterinsurgency military organisation. South Africans must ask themselves hard questions about their contemporary military needs in order to take out the right insurance, the one that is tailored to suit their own needs.
Failure to do so, we shall have compromised the interests of those who will live in this country 20 years from now. Military capabilities and spending are not goals which are addressed overnight. I thank you. [Applause.]
Hon Chairperson, hon Ministers, hon Deputy Ministers, hon Members of Parliament, guests in the gallery, viewers at home, let me express appreciation for the opportunity to stand before you and the nation on this remarkable day in our parliamentary calendar. It is a day set aside to reflect critically yet positively on the operations, strategy and budget of the Department of Defence and Military Veterans. As a point of departure, I would like to assert the immutable fact that South Africa is an integral part of the African continent. By this, I mean that our fate is inextricable from that of the African continent. This recognition has led the ANC to stand ready at all material times to participate in ensuring that peace and stability abide in the SADC region, in particular, and on the continent, in general.
I will address this House on the SA Air Force. I want to make it categorically clear that I have neither the desire nor the inclination to draw any correlation, no matter how tenuous, between peacekeeping missions and the capacity of the SA Air Force. My reflections on the SA Air Force are purely impelled by the budgetary factors attending the function. I shall therefore make a call for the adequate resourcing of the function.
Sihlalo ndivumele ndiphendule kwaba bantu basuka apha. Ohloniphekileyo uMaynier we-DA akakhange alale phezolo. Uxelelwa ngohloniphekileyo, uGroenewald, ukuba angakhwazi kuba le nkulumbuso ehloniphekileyo, uHelen uZille, nayo iminwe yakhe izele yijemu nebhotolo. [Kwaqhwatywa.] (Translation of isiXhosa paragraph follows.)
[Chairperson, allow me to respond to the issues raised by the person who has just left the podium. Hon Maynier of the DA did not sleep last night. He was told by hon Groenewald not to make too much noise because the hon Premier Helen Zille's fingers too are full of jam and butter. [Applause.] ]
Hon Maynier ...
... ukucela kwakho injezu apha nokwenza umdaniso wetshatshatsha akusayi kukusebenzela, endaweni yoko uza kudika mihla le. Ukuba ungajonga kweli cala leqela lakho abakho ngoku abantu beqela lakho, bemkile kwaye abakhange bakumamele kuba badikwe yile nto inye uyithethayo.
Ndibuye kwakhona ndiye kohloniphekileyo, umnu Maynier, umthetho wakhe ungumntu onobuhlanga. Ndiza kulikhupha litsole, Mphathiswa ohloniphekeileyo kuba ndisebenza naye kwikomiti. (Translation of isiXhosa paragraphs follows.)
[... your grandstanding here and doing the cha-cha-cha dance is not going to help you; instead you will find that people cannot stand you. If you look at your side of the House you will find that people from your own party are not here. They have left because they could not bring themselves to listen to you; they are tired of you harping on the same issue.
Hon Maynier is racist by nature. I am going to say it like it is, hon Minister, because we work together in the committee.]
Chairperson, on a point of order: She has just said that Mr Maynier is full of racism. That is reflecting upon a member of this House. That is not appropriate. [Interjections.]
It is unparliamentary!
It is unparliamentary, Mr Chair, in terms of Rule 66: Reflecting on a member of the House.
Sihlalo, ohloniphekileyo, uMnumzana lo, uyabathanda abantu bakokwabo, uyabafela nokuba benza into engalunganga. [Chairperson, this hon member likes his own people and stands by them through thick and thin, even if they do something wrong.]
Chairperson, there is a point of order, and the member continues to speak. I await your ruling. [Interjections.]
Order, please! Did you say that she said the hon Maynier is full of racism?
She said he is full of racism. That goes against Rule 66, which provides that nobody may cast aspersions on a member of this House without a formal motion. [Interjections.]
Hon member, if you said so, please withdraw that remark. [Interjections.] It is unparliamentary to say that somebody who is a Member of Parliament here is a racist. [Interjections.] Please withdraw it!
Sihlalo, isiXhosa sinzulu. Ndithe uyabathanda abantu bakowabo. [Chairperson, the isiXhosa language is extensive. I said he likes his own people.]
Hon member, I am requesting you to withdraw that statement, please. [Interjections.]
I withdraw it, Chairperson. [Interjections.] [Laughter.]
Thank you very much.
Sihlaloa ohloniphekileyo, uMnu UMaynier, uyabathanda abantu bakowabo. Ingxaki ke ngoku ndiza kuthetha isiXhosa esintsokothileyo esi siza kumenza angayiva le nto ndiza kuyithetha.
Isizathu sokuba ohloniphekileyo, uMnu Maynier, aziphathe ngolu hlobo - yiyo loo nto ndisithi kukuba uyabathanda abantu bakowabo. - bBabini kuphela abantu abaphaya kuMkhosi woKhuselo abanike ikhefu elikhethekileyo abemnye owakuthi. Yonke into engalunganga nembi kubo kufanele ukuba yenziwa ngumntu omnyama. Ukuba ngumntu omhlophe owenze into engalunganga ... (Translation of isiXhosa paragraphs follows.)
[Ms N R MABEDLA: Hon Chairperson, Mr Maynier likes his own people. The problem is that now I am going to speak the version of isiXhosa that will be too complex for him to understand.
The reason hon Mr Maynier behaves the way he does is because he likes his own people. Of the three people in the Defence Force that he gave special leave, only one was black. Everything that is wrong and that is bad is attributed to a black person. If it is a white person that has done wrong ...]
... it is nice and good.
Ndizama ukutsho ke malungu ahloniphekileyo. [That's what I'm trying to say, hon members.]
As I make a call for the resourcing of the Air Force function, in particular, I shall in the same vein point out without fear of contradiction that, external to the framework of our negotiated settlement, the need still exists to deepen the transformation of the Defence Force. By transformation I refer to the formal and substantive components thereof, because it is our conviction that there is always a dialectic link between form and substance. Substance exists in a commensurate form as much as form shapes and comports substance in its particular and generic characteristics.
Our posture in terms of peacekeeping missions is underpinned by the Freedom Charter's unequivocal clarion call for South Africa to strive to maintain world peace and the settlement of all international disputes by negotiation, not war. The Freedom Charter further asserts that peace and friendship amongst all our people shall be secured by upholding the equal rights, opportunities and status of all.
To illustrate the point I am making, allow me to take you down memory lane. The ANC took up arms against the unruly and aggressive apartheid regime in 1961. Even as it consolidated the armed struggle as one of the pillars of the national democratic struggle in Morogoro in 1969, the ANC has always been about saving lives, not destroying them. The ANC has, even before the abolition of the death penalty by the Constitutional Court, bowed to the entrenchment of the right to life in the Constitution. [Interjections.]
The mission and force design of the SA Defence Force, SADF, was to squash the activities of liberation movements in general and the ANC in particular. It is trite to mention that the SADF became a destabilising force in the region, in particular, and on the continent, in general. I want to assure South Africans, in particular, and Africans, in general, that when South Africa undertakes peace missions, she does so in order to bring stability to the region and the continent. She seeks only prosperity and peace for the African.
Phambi kokuba ndigqithe, mandibuyele kumnumzana uNhanha we-Cope. Umnumzana uNhanha we-Cope uthi akasoze aluxhase olu yoHlahlo-lwabiwo-mali. Asothukanga ... [Now let me come to hon Nhanha from Cope, who said he was not going to support this budget. We are not surprised ...]
Hon Chairperson, on a point of order: May I just correct the hon member. I am not "Nanna". I know she likes me. She can ... [Interjections.] I am "Nhanha", Chair.
I did not allow you to speak. Please take your seat.
I am "Nhanha", Chair.
Take your seat. [Interjections.]
... xa esithi akaluxhasi olu Hlahlo-lwabiwo -mali. Isizathu soko kukuba ufika emva kwethuba kwiintlanganiso zemicimbi yesebe. Xa efika uye ungazazi nokuba ukweliphi na iqela. Uyakufika ezinyakathisa apha phakathi kwethu. [Kwahlekwa.] Asothukanga ke yiloo nto kuba kaloku uyayazi ukuba, ukuba akaculi umculo kamongameli wakhe, lowo uhloniphekileyo, uMnu Lekota, ungaphandle kwezi ngcango. [Kwahlekwa.]
Ilishwa ke lelokuba, sikwinyanga yesithoba phambi kokuba sifike kulonyulo lwama-2014 apho aya phuma engena kwiinkundla zamatyala efuna isicelo sokuba aphinde abuyele ePalamente. [Kwahlekwa.]
I-ANC ayisokuze ifumane igunya kwi-Cope kuba kaloku i-Cope ayinalo igunya nobume. Ubume bakho njenge-Cope, Mnu Nhanha, bunye, kukuba ume kwe-Podium yasePalamente nokuma emkhumbini kwiinkundla zemithetho. kulapho bukhona ke ubume bakho. (Translation of isiXhosa paragraphs follows.)
[Ms N R MABEDLA: ... that he does not support this budget. The reason he does not support it is because he is always late for the portfolio committee meetings. And when he arrives he usually does not even know which party he belongs to. You'll find him squeezing himself amongst us. [Laughter.] We are not surprised that he does not support this budget, because he knows that if he does not dance to the tune of his president, the hon Mr Lekota, he'll find himself outside the premises of Parliament. [Laughter.]
Unfortunately, we have nine months before the elections of 2014, after which he will be in and out of courts trying to get back to Parliament. [Laughter.] The ANC can never get a mandate from Cope, because Cope itself has no mandate and no character. Yours as a Cope member, Mr Nhanha, is to stand on the podium of the National Assembly and to appear in the courts of law. That is your character.]
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity, OAU, we pledge ourselves to the tenets of that august organisation of the peoples of Africa to work towards the realisation of a united and prosperous Africa. We have contributed and shall continue to contribute to the democratisation of Africa and we shall never countenance any form of undemocratic change of government in our region and on our continent. South Africa will always heed the fact that the principle of noninterference in the internal affairs of sovereign states and the commitment to the peaceful resolution of conflict are enshrined in the UN Charter and the Constitutive Act of the African Union that bind all member states.
The ANC congratulates the government of Zimbabwe on signing their constitution into law yesterday. [Applause.] We cannot leave this Department of Defence and Military Veterans out and say we cannot see what they are doing to restore peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other countries. The ANC congratulates the African Union on the election of a woman, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, from the ANC, as Chairperson of the AU Commission. [Applause.] Furthermore, it calls for the ANC-led government to provide the AU with all the necessary support. [Interjections.] You should ask me what my debate is about, because your member did not debate; he was just grandstanding here. [Interjections.]
The SA Air Force, as the major component of the joint air defence capability, is required to remain robust and relevant within the evolving nature of warfare and the spectrum of conflict. This is so in order to achieve a favourable air situation, thereby allowing freedom of movement for our own forces in the air, on land and at sea. This implies that the SA Air Force must be balanced and technologically advanced enough to meet the challenges of the air battle-space.
As I have indicated before in this speech, the posture and force design of the SA Defence Force, SADF, was that of a counter-insurgency military organisation. In other words, the SADF was organised to fight against freedom fighters. As a consequence, its footprint represented such a type of military organisation. In spite of having been bequeathed such an ill- suited organisation, the ANC has to an extent addressed the demographic representativeness of the SA National Defence Force, SANDF, especially at the top and bottom strata of its organogram through the integration of all statutory and nonstatutory forces. More needs to be done to transform the middle stratum of the SANDF.
The ANC government has, to a significant extent, transformed and continues to transform the SANDF substantively to exhibit a national footprint that accords with the constitutional mandate to secure the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country and its people. The SANDF should, indeed, be strengthened even more to fulfil its constitutional mandate and protect its national interests and critical infrastructure.
Let me speak on transformation. As the ANC, we will support transformation in our debates and in the time that we are leading, because the reason the hon Groenewald and hon Maynier are afraid of this transformation is because ... [Interjections.] I am disappointed that the hon Maynier did not even make any mention of the Denel Aviation/AMG contract that was terminated in March this year, 2013. It was a 27-year-old, open-ended contract which operated from 1986 until 31 March 2013. During our oversight visit, he led the discussions. He told them he was going to change this. Unfortunately, during the committee meeting, we voted against him. [Interjections.] During this term of our democracy, we are led by the Public Finance Management Act, so we cannot allow our tax money ... The ANC supports the budget. Thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Chairperson, the ACDP joins other speakers in honouring our soldiers and airmen who died in the service of their country this year. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families.
Many questions were put to the Minister during the briefing on the Central African Republic engagement; questions about the lack of military intelligence, logistics, medical and air support; and the reasons for the deployment itself.
We may never know the finer details of what actually led up to and happened during that battle. But what is abundantly clear is that our troops fought with exceptional bravery against overwhelming odds. Of this we can all be very proud. We in the ACDP salute them.
Members of 1 Parachute Battalion - and I see sons of their members up in the gallery - indeed lived up to their motto "Ex Alto Vincimus": We conquer from above. But it would have been helpful had they had additional air support to fully live up to their motto. Whilst fingers have been pointed to many in the Ministry and at the chiefs of staff, is it not so that we in this very House also let down our troops? Previous speakers referred to the underbudget, the underfunding of this department. Yes, hon Maynier referred to the R4, 6 billion that is hidden somewhere. We as MPs have the power to interrogate this and the power to grant additional funds, but we are not exercising those powers. We need to accept responsibility for that. [Applause.]
It was also not helpful for President Zuma to say that so many people want to have a say in how the country is run. I am sure he did not refer to the MPs, because we clearly have a constitutional duty to ensure that all executive organs of state are accountable to Parliament.
President Zuma, as we know, has to report to Parliament when troops are deployed. And it would be a serious omission if, as was pointed out, there was a helicopter deployed to the Democratic Republic of the Congo that we were not aware of to help with the CAR. We hope that there will be an explanation for that.
Soldiers on the ground are unable to question political decisions that may result in their being placed in harm's way. They are expected to merely obey orders. Lord Tennyson's famous poem says, "Theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do and die." But it is our responsibility as MPs to ask the hard questions. They rely on us to hold the executive accountable. They must be sure that we exercise our oversight capabilities so that they can obey orders without any questions being asked. We exercise final oversight and all the troops and these troops that are here with their families expect nothing less.
Let us make sure that the Department of Defence, the SA National Defence Force are sufficiently funded to carry out their mandate correctly. Thank you. [Applause.]
Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, who is sitting behind us, Deputy Minister, hon Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans, our glorious army, the guests in the gallery and outside, at the outset I would like to say that those who do not support this budget do not feel for our security forces.
The National Development Plan urges us to build a capable developmental state, and the ANC has always espoused a caring government. I therefore suggest to you today that a developmental state should not only possess the capacity to care, but should demonstrate such care in action. Our government is a caring government that seeks to build a better life for all our people. Better life for all our people has to do with life expectancy; a broad and deeper skills base; and equitable distribution of wealth. As the chairperson of the portfolio committee has aptly noted:
The Constitution compels South Africans not only to recognise the injustices of the past, but also to honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land.
While concurring, I must, however, without fear of contradiction, assert that when the ANC resolved at its 52nd national conference in Polokwane to establish a Ministry for Military Veterans, it was not simply complying with the Constitution, but was demonstrating its character as a caring organisation. It is not unheard of for military veterans to be honoured by the people whose cause they fought to advance. It is, however, unheard of that military veterans, upon returning to the land of their birth, and after risking life and limb to liberate their people, are relegated to the fringes of society and left to sink into deep poverty.
Military veterans are heroes who should be celebrated. I therefore must say, compelled by the truth behind the force of speech, that only racial prejudice can impel any individual to adopt the maxim: Every veteran for himself and the devil takes the hindmost. Again, I must caution that, despite our negotiated settlement, our freedom was never handed to us on a silver platter. [Applause.] We fought for this freedom. Indeed, we lost many of our comrades in the fight for this freedom! [Applause.]
It is important that our Defence Force is not only rejuvenated, but that it contributes to the skilling of our young people in order, amongst others, to reverse the high rate of youth unemployment. In this regard, the Military Skills Development System is a vehicle that continues to be used to transfer skills to our youth and to rejuvenate our Defence Force and military veterans.
In line with the Polokwane resolution that I alluded to earlier, Cabinet introduced the then Military Veterans Bill, which this Parliament passed and the President assented to. However, the current Military Veterans Act, No 18 of 2011, cannot be implemented for want of regulations. I will return to this point later in my speech. Let me focus for a while on the contents of the Act, as I deem them to be critical for this debate. The Act defines a military veteran as:
(a) Any South African citizen who rendered military service to any military organisations, statutory and nonstatutory, which were involved on all sides of the South African Liberation War from 1960 to 1994; (b) served in the Union Defence Force before 1961; or (c) became a member of the new SA National Defence Force after 1994, and has completed his or her military training and no longer performs military service; and has not been dishonourably discharged from that military organisation or force ...
What I seek to do through this definition is to disabuse you of the deliberate misrepresentation by some of the purpose of our government in putting in place a measure to recognise and honour military veterans in life and remembering them in death for their sacrifices. The misrepresentation I refer to is that the ANC seeks to appease its own comrades at the expense of the fiscus. As you have heard firsthand from the Act, our government has no intention, either overt or covert, to discriminate against any legitimate beneficiary and subject of the Act. It seeks only to demonstrate its care for the welfare of those who sacrificed their lives and potential future for the realisation of our democracy, soon to be two decades old. Accordingly, the Act is underpinned by principles of honouring sacrifices made by military veterans in the service to or for their role in the democratisation of South Africa. Pursuant to this principle, the department has honoured the first generation of military veterans with medals becoming of citizens of their eminence. The intention is to cascade the roll-out of honours to subsequent generations. We support this gesture as it accords with the letter, spirit, and purport of the Constitution and beyond reasonable doubt evinces the character of the ANC.
The other key principle underscoring the Act is that compensation which a military veteran may be entitled to for disablement, constitutes reparation and is, despite any provision to the contrary contained in any law, not a welfare benefit. In this regard, the aim is thus to improve the quality of life of military veterans and their dependants. In line with improving the quality of the lives of military veterans, the department undertakes to ensure that military veterans and their dependants have access to education and are provided with health and wellness support. The department also undertakes to ensure the participation of military veterans in the mainstream economy through broad-based black economic empowerment, BBBEE, and participation in rural development and land reform.
Let me now return to the point I made earlier. The fact of the matter is that the Act has been crafted in a broadly overarching manner, thus rendering it inoperable, void of enabling regulations. We are encouraged by the fact that regulations have been tabled and, as Members of Parliament, we promise to ensure that we do our part without undue delay to expedite the process of passing that delegated legislation.
We are conscious of the fact that people's lives and welfare depend on the implementation of the Act, and again we pledge ourselves to do all in our power to ensure that the military veterans of our struggle receive the due honours and recognition. Military veterans must be honoured in life and remembered in death for their sacrifices on behalf of the nation.
The low skills base is one of the causes of youth unemployment in our country. The Military Skills Development System, MSDS, is a strategic means for force rejuvenation as a component of the Human Resource Renewal Strategy. It is a fact of life that people tend to age with the passing of time, and that with age comes the loss of agility. In order to keep our Defence Force agile and ready to engage on all fronts, it becomes fundamental that the force component is kept youthful through the requisite addition of young people.
In his state of the nation address Mr Jacob G Zuma, the President of the Republic of South Africa, noted that: "Working together, we will find a solution to youth unemployment." Subsequently, on 18 February 2013, the Youth Employment Accord was signed at the Hector Pieterson Memorial in Orlando, Soweto. In this endeavour the Department of Defence and Military Veterans, in partnership with the Safety and Security Sector Education and Training Authority, Sasseta, is currently hosting 100 interns from the unemployed youth of South Africa.
MSDS therefore endeavours to attract young people into the scarce skills areas of the SA National Defence Force. Many young people acquire a skill such as being an artisan through the MSDS programme, while others have been trained as flight pilots through the programme. However, there are two limitations that attend the programme which should inform planning. The first limitation is that the Defence Force does not have unlimited space to enrol MSDS trainees. Therefore, the number which may be taken on board within a given time is finite.
The other challenge is that while the Defence Force can offer and perform certain forms of training to the limited number I referred to, it neither can, on its own, offer all the critical skills necessary, nor does it possess the space and capacity to absorb all those who have been trained. The ANC supports the Budget Vote. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Hon Chair, hon Minister, Deputy Minister, hon members, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, from the outset I would like to make a clarion call on the hon Minister, her department and the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans to make a special effort to implement the necessary instruments to give effect to the benefits of military veterans and restore their dignity and honour to what it should be. [Applause.] First and foremost, let us never short-change our military veterans.
I also want to point out the inaccuracies, discrepancies and inconsistencies within the documents that we are afforded to study and interrogate, namely the Alternate Benefit Programme, which are the budget and strategic plan documents. There are any number of mistakes, irregularities, inconsistencies and a lack of reconciliation. Even within the budget report itself, the figures don't tally.
This speaks to a department that says that there are six high-risk areas, as indicated last year. This year the high-risk areas have increased to nine. When we speak about manpower and being able to perform, we speak about high-risk number two, which is the lack of adequately skilled and dependable human capital that can actually do the job.
There are four pages allocated to 23 indicators and targets which had to be amended and redefined on pages 85 to 88, table 18 of the ABP, saying that all those indicators that have been considered before and currently had to be reviewed because they were not thought through very well. This simply means that we have a lack of capable human capital to actually execute the job.
However, it goes further than this. This entire process is a rigorous process, one that goes through a reporting and budget cycle; one that is referred from the leadership of the department to the National Treasury, the Auditor-General of South Africa and to the Presidency's Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation as well as Administration. It goes through a lengthy process and comes back, and yet we still find all these mistakes.
I urge the leadership and echelons that are responsible for signing off this document in their names to make sure the information is correct, and that goes from the hon Minister right down to senior management, every single signature included there. The director-general, DG, even attested that every single piece of information in the report can be audited, and that it is absolutely true and correct. That is not the case. Let us clean up our documents, especially those that are for public consumption, the ones that we sign our names to and which we want to be proud of, and the ones that represent our department. Secondly, that speaks also to high-risk number six, which is, of course, monitoring and evaluation.
I want to speak about the regulations. The benefits can only be implemented if the regulations are in place. There are also other important instruments that must prevail, such as the memorandum of understanding, and service level agreements.
I convey appreciation to the hon Deputy Minister for indicating that there has been achievement and progress regarding the social cluster and the signing of the memoranda. However, this has been the case only for the national departments. We have about 14 departments besides the provincial departments, local government, and the private sector, where we still need to have service level agreements and memoranda of understanding in place. This needs to prevail.
The health care policy, bursary education policy and the transport policy are all issues that must set the environment for the regulations to be implemented. A means test, memorandums of understanding and service level agreements have to be implemented. I urge the department to appoint the relevant people necessary to execute the job.
In 2011 the department had only 17 people; 43 had not yet been appointed. In 2012, 29 or 27 were appointed and 43 were not appointed by the end of that financial year. We are looking at 135 people who are being appointed now to come to the full complement of 169. However, the ABP contradicted that when it said that only 90% would be appointed in the two outer years.
This department seriously lacks the capacity and needs all the manpower to execute its duties. Why are we delaying the process? The Department of the Public Service and Administration has all the generic contracts, job descriptions, salary scales and everything in place. Why the delay? If there are specific requirements for a job, let us deal with those specifics. Consultants were appointed, but what did they actually execute? Thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Hon Chair, Minister, all members of the executive, hon Members of Parliament, and some of the well-defined force members, this afternoon is very important to all of us. It is about our responsibility and the oath that we have taken in this particular country.
As the ANC, we have taken on quite a lot of responsibilities. In the past 19 to 20 years, we have yet again put our lives beside the contributions that we made in the past. We are saying most emphatically that this democracy must work. We are not saying that because we feel we have no obligation or responsibility to our own people. We do have a lot of responsibilities. Definitely so. When we created the constitutional state, we were quite aware of our own responsibilities.
We definitely know that the military command, in executing its duties, uphold those responsibilities. That is why, in their own conduct and taking responsibility for the lives of our soldiers, they never attempted to sell them out. That has not been said, because it has never happened. These are men and women who have made a great contribution to this particular democracy.
It is a pity that Cope has just left. The responsibilities that have been taken on by hon Thembi Mapisa-Nqakula has come from a great contribution, to arrive at where she is today. She is the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans. That responsibility ... Unless you understand the Constitution, Maynier ... you will not win elections. [Interjections.] I am coming to you this year. I will deal with you. Don't worry, I have lots of facts about you. That responsibility lies with the Minister.
Has she executed her responsibility well? As cadres of this movement, people have contributed. I have known comrade and hon Minister in underground work since 1984. Before 1984, when we put together the Congress of South African Students, Cosas, she was there and responsible. She fought and made a lot of sacrifices for what she did. At no stage has she sold out this revolution. At no stage has she ever become an askari of our movement. She has never done that. She is the one whom we call an honour - as flowers of our revolution. [Applause.]
As a young woman within our underground structures, she played a very important role. [Applause.] From where I am standing, I am saying that she made a huge contribution. At no stage has she sold out our people. That is why she sits here. She is comfortable and relaxed. She knows her responsibility. She is executing her responsibility. Her appointment is not a matter to be worried about by the sloganism, which is ill informed. [Interjections.]
The problem with you, hon Maynier, and different people who support and work with you, is how much of what she said you understand. As securocrats you have a responsibility. [Interjections.] If you understand the Constitution, you will relate to it. You will never understand what she wants to achieve. It was pathetic because if you understood the Constitution of the country and how you relate to the military, you must be able to say to yourself that ... [Interjections.]
You told us what happened in Manenberg. There is a fight about gangsters in Manenberg. His Premier in the Western Cape combined efforts to call upon the Defence Force to come and intervene in gangsterism. [Interjections.] Do you understand how the Constitution and the Defence Force function? You don't understand, because you can't just call the Defence Force to come and intervene in Manenberg when there is a gangsterism problem, because there are police. If you understand the role and capacity of the police, you will be able to deal with that.
There is a total misunderstanding of what is happening and an inability to define the responsibilities of the Defence Force itself. Based on that ... [Interjections.] That is why you have a narrow interpretation and understanding of the role of the Defence Force. Hon Maynier doesn't understand the security structure. [Interjections.] Yes, he has been trained and he comes from the Air Force or the Navy or wherever he comes from. [Interjections.]
I listened to him today, and you will understand that in this institution he has not been able to define and explain to us where he got this information from. One thing he did was to become an advertiser, advertising photos that I don't understand where he took them. [Laughter.] He was running around tweeting. We all know what social media is. There is nothing new about the social media. We are engaged in that particular terrain.
The reality is that hon Maynier is going around picking up information that is not even valuable or has not even been tested. Data is tested. We have the portfolio committee, where we prescribe and give data so that it can be used and made known to the public. At no stage does his information come from relevant sources. We have Military Intelligence ... [Interjections.] Keep quiet, you should be listening. We have Military and National Intelligence. He got that photo he is running around with from the rebels. That photo and whatever he brought and produced here came from the rebels. [Applause.] It comes from counterforces of our revolution. [Interjections.] It comes from antidemocratic forces that do not represent the interests of our people.
He thought about discrediting what Minister Cwele would be able to put forward. He talked about the peddling of information, and that is what he is providing to Parliament. As Members of Parliament, it is in our interest that we conduct ourselves in a way that we are able to explain to the public where we derived the information from. We are the portfolio committee in this Parliament. Many relate this portfolio committee to the information provided.
This person comes to Parliament and makes a lot of noise. That information is ill informed because it comes from information-peddling and information that has been provided by rebels. It is not the information that is tested or given by our Military Intelligence cluster. That is the type of a person we are dealing with here. [Interjections.]
Chairperson, I rise on a point of order. The hon member there just shouted that the speaker on the podium is a fraudster and a thief. I think that's not parliamentary. Can you ask him to withdraw that remark?
Hon member, can you withdraw that remark, please?
Chair, the hon member was found guilty in a court of law for fraud. I can't withdraw it.
Hon member, there are Rules that govern how a member comes back to Parliament. Therefore, I ask you to withdraw that, please.
Certainly not, Chairperson.
Hon member, I ask you one last time to withdraw that remark, please.
Chair, the hon member should apologise to taxpayers for stealing their money in the first place.
Hon member, can you remove yourself from the House, please? Thank you. [Interjections.]
With pleasure, Chair. [Interjections.]
The member thereupon withdrew from the Chamber.
Hon members, please stop howling. Continue please, hon Booi. [Applause.]
I understand when there is difficulty in understanding the responsibility that we are dealing with. I say with ease that I am still consistent in interpreting what I understand. The hon member then took responsibility and talked about economics, development and militarisation. We don't understand where he got his explanation of how the economy reflects within the military. You came here and made a joke of yourself. I take responsibility, because that's how the Ministry and all of us were able to crunch figures, in the 1%. You know exactly what we are talking about.
He has not been able to say what type of model he has used, economically speaking. And he tested it against what? He has not been able to tell us what the nature of the economy has been over some time. They left the legacy within the economy and they compare that with the military. He comes here and makes a noise. We are economists and we know what we are talking about. He barely understands.
I will prove it by showing how little he understands the African continent. That is why, as a party, they are asking and appealing that we should go to Manenberg. He comes and plays around with our people's lives, because he doesn't understand that there is a huge responsibility that was taken on by these men and women in our country. He doesn't understand the deaths and the pain that we have gone through as a country. He doesn't understand that any soldier that dies receives the greatest respect. Let us listen to what Minister Cwele said in terms of Africa. Within that African analysis, I'll prove to him that he has been misleading us, because his information is based on what the rebels have been providing him with. This information has not been provided to him by anybody else. I will tell you that. As we stand here, we know that whatever happens today in the lives of our soldiers has not been an easy trip.
These military commanders have done more work to be able to help preserve what we have decided as being the policy arrangements of the ANC. We have accepted that responsibility and done that assessment. People who are dealing with this operation have taken the huge responsibility of seeing to it that the policies of this government are being implemented. That is why we have a high regard for them.
There is no stage at which they are able to provide. They come here and make a lot of noise about the Guptas. We are not interested in that. We were trying to find out from them if the way that they have not been able to understand the environment is correct. The audit that we are talking about, on which the Minister has been able to give clarity long ago, is about the Waterkloof Air Force Base. As the Minister, she rejected that and took a principled stance. However, they all want her to be a traffic officer, to run around and be a metro officer. She is not. The Constitution doesn't require her to become a metro officer and run around asking how many traffic police are in the convoy. [Applause.] That is not her responsibility. However, because they don't understand her responsibilities, they come here and make a lot of noise.
Let us listen to what Minister Cwele said, and I quote:
Global security remains stable but fragile due to pockets of conflict in some regions of the world. One of the most noticeable trends since 2012 is the increase in the threat of terrorism in Africa.
That is how the Minister put it. Further on he said:
In West Africa, the destabilising activities of extremist or militant groups such as Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb, Boko Haram in Nigeria and Tuareg Militia in Mali attest to this. In North Africa there is a proliferation of small arms, the availability of well-trained fighters, and weakened regional security structures. Al-Shabaab is determined to wage a jihad against countries that are part of the African Union Mission in Somalia.
Central Africa, where the Central African Republic is, has experienced a resurgence of instability as a result of the conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic. We are concerned about the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic. As a nation, we may not turn a blind eye to the evolving humanitarian crisis. The primary objective is to urgently restore security in order to allow inflows of humanitarian assistance and economic reconstruction.
I have quoted the Minister of State Security. Where did the hon Maynier get his information from? He presented stories from the rebels and told stories that M23 provided him with information. There will be a moment where our own soldiers will be provided with information by people who killed them; and then you come and make a lot of noise in Parliament and start jumping up and down.
Pertinent to that matter is that what hon Esau of the DA talked about when he came up here mentioning mistakes in a book. I have been trying to ask what kind of policy measures the DA has. It has not been developing any. We have tried to check on what they were basing their analysis and policies. Maynier has just been thumb-sucking all the time, and the next thing he talks as if there was panic or crisis in our country. There is no crisis here.
The commander-in-chief is in charge. He is in charge. [Laughter.] [Interjections.] He is in charge. [Applause.] He is giving command and hope. The Minister is in charge. He knows exactly what is happening. He is not a socialite or running weddings. The Defence Force was not created to run weddings. We don't run weddings here. He is in charge. We are in charge of a military force that is supposed to be able to defend our people. We are fulfilling that particular responsibility with diligence.
The laws that are put in place cannot even resolve the gangster problem in Manenberg. The gangster problem is growing under their own leadership. They make a lot of noise. They went to Khayelitsha and everywhere, trying to deal with the police. The police can't listen to them. They created some metro structures, but they are not functioning. The reality is that they have no understanding of the operation of the security forces. [Applause.] That is detrimental to the existence of our own country.
That type of structure or party can't be seen to be taking responsibility for the lives of our people. I must be able to say to the military forces that the ANC remains solidly behind them. You have worked with us. We have been able to build the democracy together. We are not going to shrink from that responsibility. The commander-in-chief has been able to give us commands. [Interjections.]
It's only Gedleyihlekisa Zuma who gives commands, not you. You are not elected. I am saying that what he has been able to do, you can't! After you brought this flurry of non-information and talked about a lot of things, engaging with different forces, like the rebels, you come back and expect the commander-in-chief to come here and tell the portfolio committee what he is going to do. The commander-in-chief doesn't work like that. Maynier, you must read the Constitution properly. It will guide you to understand the role of the commander-in-chief, the role of the Ministry within the department and the role of the Military command, and not individuals who go out, shouting, without knowing what they are talking about.
As the ANC, we are still saying to you, meet us in the portfolio committee. [Applause.] Provide us with this information that you are asking about, and we will deal with you there. We don't shrink from our responsibility. We don't shout like sissies. Dinge gaan later vir jou oorloop, my broer. [Things are going to get worse for you later.] You don't understand what we are dealing with here. [Interjections.] We have been in the underground structures. We understand what we are dealing with, and we know where we are going.
Chairperson, I rise on a point of order. Stop shouting. I submit that the word "sissy" is unparliamentary and I would ask you to rule on that.
It depends on what vernacular this is. [Interjections.]
It is unparliamentary language. I ask that you rule on that.
Hon member, it depends on what vernacular you are using. [Laughter.]
The full responsibility ... [Interjections.]
Chairperson, I rise on a point of order. I am not satisfied with that ruling. He is speaking English and he is not using it in the vernacular. You know full well that that was an insult and that it is unparliamentary.
I am going to rule that the hon member continues. Thank you.
South Africans, what we are saying and are going to continue to say to you is that we have taken on the responsibility to make sure that we create the Southern African Development Community Brigade, which is your responsibility as members of the Defence Force. You have the responsibility to create a Pan African military force, where our honourable Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is presiding. Those responsibilities are going to go ahead. We will give you the support.
We do understand that without South Africans in the multilateral structures in which we are engaged, we won't be able to assist you to become leaders in the military on the African continent. We will give you our support. We understand very squarely that we have the responsibility, as our members have been pointing out, on the peacekeeping missions. That is a new development and we will be able to deal with that in relation to the type of resources that should be given.
The ANC is fully responsible, and fully behind you. We will always be behind you, because we created these types of policies. We did not make a noise, but created policies and we are reflecting on them. As the Ministry said, we will continue to improve the Defence Review, because it is our responsibility as Members of Parliament. We are not going to shrink from that responsibility.
Our conferences in Mangaung and Limpopo have directed us what to do. We will give our responsibility to that. That is where our loyalty lies. Our loyalty is not based on the noise that you make in Parliament. We know where we are coming from. We know how far we have travelled with hon Minister Mapisa-Nqakula, and we are not going to shrink from that responsibility.
We know how much we have contributed to saving the lives of our people. The ANC supports the Budget Vote. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Chairperson and hon members, I want to start by thanking all hon members for their participation in the debate. I welcome the constructive criticism and constructive debate of matters relating to the Defence Force.
Let me start by acknowledging the presence of Major General Jiyane, who I wasn't aware was here. Maj-Gen Jiyane, welcome and thank you. [Applause.] Maj-Gen Jiyane is ... [Interjections.] ... please, now ...
... ungaphindi ngoku ... [... don't do that again ...]
... was the commander of the company that fought in Bangui. General, you know you led your soldiers very well. You commanded them with excellence. [Applause.] We owe you this: You are a true patriot.
Just a few comments, hon members, on some of the matters that had been raised, starting with the matter that was raised by Gen Holomisa of the UDM. It is a pity, that he is not here. I just wanted to set the record straight, because I think he has it wrong. Firstly, on the day of the attack on our soldiers, I, together with the generals behind me, was sitting in an operations room from evening to the early hours of the morning - just for the record. This is not for my personal glory or anybody else's glory, but just for you to know that what you have said here is incorrect; it is inaccurate. It is not true. It is far from the truth. On the day, I was sitting in the operations room with my generals, and I was listening to the battle as it was ensuing in Bangui. Now, the second matter is that I was supposedly dancing at the Brics summit. I hope you will pass this on. I don't remember attending a single one of the dinners at the Brics summit because of the amount of pressure we were under. To release a statement after two days was the right thing to do, because we first needed to do a proper assessment to be able to know how many casualties we had sustained before we inform the South African public. I believe it was the correct thing to do and that we were quite responsible in the way in which we discharged our functions. [Applause.]
The third matter is ... [Interjections.] Now, hon Maynier, you will not get information about the combat readiness or nonreadiness of the SA National Defence Force. I don't understand and I don't know why you want this information so desperately. [Interjections.] I don't understand. You know better; you have been a soldier. You know that there is technical information that you may not release to the South African public. This you know, because you have been there.
The other thing that I must say is that to suggest that I released information to Seleka is suggesting that I am part of some counterrevolution on the African continent. I want to suggest that you are wrong. You are wrong! I am a democrat; I am a human rights activist who has fought for your liberation in this country ... [Applause.] ... at a time when some of you were conducting raids and maiming and killing women and children in the frontline states. I was there in the trenches, but I was in the trenches of those who were fighting for liberation in this country. [Applause.]
Incidentally, I can tell you now that I am not a civilian. I am only a civilian because I am a Member of Parliament. I am a Minister deployed here by government. I happen to be a soldier myself. Therefore, I can never be insensitive to the needs and the requirements of our soldiers. I can never subject them to conditions of vulnerability, because I myself am a soldier, and not only a soldier - I have survived ambushes before, some of which were orchestrated and planned from the Republic of South Africa. [Applause.]
You know, sometimes some of the remarks that you make can be very good. You can be very good when you like, but at times you can be very insensitive. Take, for instance, this issue of the Democratic Republic of the Congo at the risk of being emotional. We submitted to Parliament a request for approval for 400 soldiers to be deployed to the Central African Republic ...
This is in the DRC!
Having done that - just keep quiet and listen; I don't want to say clean your ears and listen - now, having done that, we deployed approximately 200, and the rest remained here in the country. When the attack happened in March, there was a need for us to assess the situation and quickly prepare for an evacuation of those forces.
Why did Parliament not inform us? [Interjections.]
And yes, hon members, we then deployed the rest of the 400 who had been approved by Parliament here. Where they were deployed - whether they were deployed in Uganda or the Democratic Republic of the Congo - all of you who served in the former SA Defence Force know well that that is tactical information. That is operational information which we were not going to give you at the time, because we did not know where that information would land. [Applause.]
On the landward defence capability, I am sorry that hon Mr Groenewald is not here, because I really appreciate the comments that he made. I do want to say that transformation has nothing to do with accidents or mishaps that we have had in the SA National Defence Force. What we all need to do - you included, with the experience that you have - is to come forward with suggestions on how best we can improve our training programmes and our capacity, so that we will be able to meet the challenges that we have, and not to sit there and say "transformation". We will not reverse transformation.
My job is that of being Minister of Defence and Military Veterans in the Republic of South Africa. I am at the helm of a Defence Force that talks about peace, that advocates peace and stability on the African continent. I am not in a Defence Force that was maiming and killing women, civilians, and children. No! [Applause.] At the time when you were conscripted, and you joined the SA Defence Force, that was the time when all of these things were happening. You know. And history will be written by those who know the story of what happened in South Africa. That story is yet to be told, including the role that each one of us has played, both on the left and on the right. [Interjections.]
Chairperson, may I address you, please? The Minister has twice now pointed at me. [Interjections.] She said, and I quote: "Members on this side of the House were involved in maiming and killing women and children". I have never fired a gun in my life, and I ask that she withdraws the statement and stops pointing here.
Hon member, I won't be able to ask the Minister to withdraw that. Continue, hon Minister.
Unfortunately, because of the noise levels, I haven't heard what the hon member was saying. If you are not eating into my time, I really want to hear what he had to say.
Hon Minister, I made a ruling on what you said, so continue, please.
I didn't hear, though.
But it is fine, hon Minister. You can continue.
No, it is not fine!
Well, if it is ... I just heard you saying that I was pointing in this direction. It is possible, and I may not have pointed directly at you, but I did point in this direction, because you know that most of you males at the time did serve in the SA Defence Force. [Applause.]
Chairperson, on a point of order ...
Hon member, are you rising on a point of order?
Chairperson, may I continue?
Are you rising on a point of order, hon member?
I am rising on a point of order, Chairperson. The Minister is repeatedly making comments about "you". [Interjections.]
Hon members, please! That is completely unacceptable. Continue.
The Minister is repeatedly making reference to the males on this side of the House who were part - or allegedly part - of an army, possibly in the apartheid era, maiming and killing women and children. Sir, I submit that those comments are unparliamentary. [Interjections.] They cast aspersions upon the integrity of the male members on this side, and I ask that they be withdrawn, please.
Thank you very much, Chairperson.
Please, I am busy dealing with the issue. Thank you.
Please, I am making a ruling. Please! Hon Kalyan, I don't think that we can brush away history.
At the same time, we realise that not everyone was involved in that, but in the historical context, that did take place. So, I am going to let that go. Continue, hon Minister. [Applause.]
On a point of order, Mr Chair! There are members in the ANC who were also there at the time and who are now currently in the ANC.
Hon member, that is exactly what history is about. Continue, please, hon Minister.
On a point of order, Chair. I think it is important to underline the fact that the Minister ... [Interjections.]
Thank you very much. You cannot be hot under the collar now.
Hon Minister, please, I am trying to conduct the proceedings in this House.
It is important to underline the fact that the Minister referred to some, on this side of the House, and not to all on this side. She has not referred to those who ran away when they were required to accept conscription.
Hon member, that is quite correct. That is why I made the ruling. [Laughter.] Hon Minister, continue, please.
Chairperson, the history of South Africa, the story of South Africa, is yet to be told. [Interjections.] I was there, my brother, and I made history. Hon member, I was there, together with that old lady sitting at the back there, called hon Ma Njobe. We were there - together, with Ma Njobe. Old as she is, she was in uniform. She was in the trenches, because we had to fight the racist apartheid regime. Today she can hardly hear. She is half deaf, and it is as a result of the shootings on 16 December 1986. We were there. [Applause.] Just where you people used to attack us, that's where I was. [Interjections.]
Lastly, I want to say this. [Interjections.] I was not young at all. For the record, I am probably older than you are. I am 57. You look at my face, and you think I am 30. I am not! [Laughter.] [Applause.] Now, the hon Esau, I take the matters that you have raised in relation to our Annual Performance Plan seriously. This is an observation that we have made together with the Deputy Minister. These are some of the matters that we have raised with the directors-general, both with the Director-General of Defence and Military Veterans and the SecDev Group. They are matters that we are attending to. I want to thank you for your contribution to the debate. [Applause.]
Lastly, hon members, I want to say this. I want to quote ... [Interjections.]
Hon members, I don't know who is making animal sounds. It is totally and utterly unacceptable in this Chamber. [Interjections.] Hon Minister, your time has expired.
I want to quote Amit Abraham, who said ...
Hon Minister, please, your time has expired.
... "Don't try to tell me what I am because I know what I am not." [Applause.]