Hon Chair, hon Minister, Deputy Minister, hon members and fellow South Africans. Hon Chair, we should not be worried when messengers of white bosses come here and critic that which is meant to transform the lives of our people. They wasted their time when the likes of JJ Maake and other veterans were fighting for the freedom of this country and they want to brave themselves as messengers here today.
Hon chair, as I take the stand in this podium to break my virginity in so far as the 6th Parliament debates are concerned, I wish to take this opportunity to thank the ANC and the people
of this country for opportunity to represent them. We dare not fail them. Before I proceed; Chair, we wish to extend our heartfelt condolences and sympathy to the family and friends of General Ike Maphotho. A tireless advocate of human rights and a real freedom fighter, not these ones of today. A pioneer of Umkhonto Wesizwe and may his soul rest in peace.
We as the ANC also wish to expressed our concerns about the continuous decreases in the defence budget. We acknowledge the financial constraints under which the Department of Defence is operating under. For this reason, we urge the department to speed up the development of the funding model to allow our committee to engage with it and assist where possible.
Hon Chairperson, the 54th National Conference of the ANC acknowledged the reality that the work of the security cluster and it said it identified clearly that the work of the cluster is labour intensive and therefore the mechanical reduction in the budget and personnel will invariably weaken its capacity and capability to re-assert the authority of the state, to protect
the territorial integrity of the republic and ensure that all South Africans feel safe.
Chairperson, it is on that basis that we wish to remind the executive and the Minister of Finance in particular about the resolution taken by the 54th National Conference "Government should allocate adequate addition financial resources to the security cluster to effectively deal with territorial integrity of the country". It is our basis for condemnation of the shrinking budget of Depart of Defence. It can't continue to be correct that the funding of the defence budget is less than 1% of Gross Domestic Product making it the lowest in SADC region. Most countries and Native Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO, ones as well use 2% of Gross Domestic Product and some countries in Africa are even higher. The advice to SANDF was that the budget should never be kept under 1,8% of GDP. And this is worrisome.
Hon Members, one of the entities of the Department of Defence is the Office of the Military Ombudsman. This office is a critical mechanism of civil oversight. On the review of complaints, the
Military Ombudsman recommendations give corrective direction to the Defence Force. Of the 525 complaints before the Military Ombudsman, we are glad to report to this House that a total of 246 cases have been finalised.
The term of the current Military Ombudsman has come to an end. we wish Lt Gen T T Matanzima well and we are in the process of appointing a new Ombudsman. I say it's we because it is our department, and we don't believe in individualism, nor believe in the politics of me, myself, and I. We are a collective.
A key development within the defence domain is the need for South Africa to adequately arm itself to deal with the dilemma of modern military threats. Crucially, the South African National Defence Force should develop an Information Warfare or Cyber Warfare capabilities. The 2019 APP indicates that the Depart of Defence will implement robust network security architecture, including appropriate segregation and segmentation between the information technology and control system including weapons systems networks using firewalls and intrusion prevention and detection tools. Furthermore, this year, the
Department will continue consultation with stakeholders towards the development of a comprehensive cyber warfare strategy. This groundwork represents an important first step towards building a cyber defence capability. We will continue to monitor developments in this regard and urge future funding requirements to be cognisant of the need to address this particular project.
Hon Members, transformation of the defence industry remains a critical strategic goal. In this regard, the Department of Defence established the National Defence Industry Council, NDIC, last year to facilitate a platform for government support and repositioning of the Defence Industry.
It is this body that has already developed the Defence Industry Strategy and the Defence Industry Charter, providing pathways for the transformation and growth of the defence industry paving the way for youth and women to participate in this industry that was monopolised. And it was mainly white dominated.
Hon Chair, the department of defence has done well to balance its budget and its budget addresses its main priorities
irrespective of the challenges of a shrinking budget over the years. The South African defence force continues to fulfil its constitutional imperatives to defend and protect, extend beyond that engagement in major combat operations to that safeguarding South Africa and its people in times of both conflict and peace. South Africa and its borders, strategic installations and air, maritime continue to be protected under those circumstances.
Hon Chair, I think it will be important to note that the deployment of the South African Defence Force to the Western Cape was as a result of the challenges that are faced in particular by this province, here more than 2000 lives were lost and that is a war against the people of Philippi, but the DA is oblivious to that fact and they want to pretend as if it's business as usual, therefore we are calling upon the department to strengthen and continue to deploy soldiers because one of the mandate of the defence is protect and defend our people not only again external threats but even from internally when our people are dying, it is important. The ANC without fear of contraction supports this vote.