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Source: Ministry of Defence
Title: M Lekota: Defence Dept Budget Vote 2004/2005
BUDGET VOTE BY MINISTER OF DEFENCE MOSIUOA LEKOTA, MP, National
Assembly, Cape Town, 8 June 2004
When in 1994, Parliament resolved that the South African National
Defence Force (SANDF) should be called into being, and
simultaneously set out defence policy in the White Paper and
Defence Review, it would have been difficult for us to foresee the
very intense and broad involvement of the SANDF in the
stabilisation of our sub-continent and continent.
Most debates at that time, even around the Strategic Defence
Packages, were about why we needed to equip the SANDF when there
were no enemies about to attack us. Very few could predict the
vital role the SANDF would play in peace support operations in the
continent of Africa.
With hindsight we are now in a position to say our nation was wise
to have taken the decisions it did. The SANDF has been the pivotal
instrument of stability in Africa south of the Sahara. The
Peacekeeping Mission to Burundi is a shining example. Today, the
African Mission in Burundi (AMIB) has become a United Nations
mission (ONUB) whose mandate is "to support Burundi's efforts to
re-establish sustainable peace". This is due to the pioneering role
of the SANDF, and later in collaboration with Mozambique and
Ethiopia, creating the conditions for the United Nations to take
A defence force engaged in peacekeeping operates entirely
differently from a defence force at war. Peacekeeping strives to
achieve sustainable peace. Subsequently its actions are premised on
supporting key role players to move forward out of a conflict
situation. Thus its training will be based on, among other things,
international law and respect for human life and human rights. It
will provide security support to role players if necessary; it will
provide logistical support like secure communications, medical
services for wounded and sick combatants; it will provide
engineering expertise for the rebuilding of the country. It will
even be involved in post-conflict resolution to ensure that
combatants are demobilised effectively, that they have disarmed and
that they are re-integrated into society.
10 years ago we resolved that our posture would be a defensive one
and we started the transformation of the defence function in that
direction in April 1994.
Ten years down the line, the White Paper on Defence and the Defence
Review will now be reviewed. To date these two fundamental
documents have guided the transformation of the defence function.
The foundation on which they were based remains sound. But there
are certain aspects, which need to be revisited and adjusted.
The world has changed since 1994, and whilst we still cannot
identify any serious threats to our territorial sovereignty, we
still face the demons of poverty and hunger. These remain the
biggest threats to our security and stability as a nation. The
political imperatives, which guided us in 1994, have altered, and
our structures, our training and our modus operandi must be
adjusted and fine-tuned to align ourselves with our role on the
The Defence Review, which was the result of a wide consultative
process, did not adequately foresee the extent of the peacekeeping
role assigned to us in support of our diplomatic initiatives. It is
envisaged that certain changes will be made with regard to the
internal workings of the Department to meet these adjustments and
to enhance the ability of the Department to be able to carry out
its function effectively.
The whole of the top structure of the Department will participate
in this review process. Regular updates on the progress of this
review will be discussed at the Council on Defence to enable the
Minister and Deputy Minister to give strategic direction to the
We aim to complete the review of the White Paper on Defence and the
Defence Review by the end of this year. This is a crucial exercise
and will drive the last phase of the transformation of the defence
We have outlined a strategic direction for the work of the
Ministry, the Defence Secretary and the C SANDF for the next 5
years, accompanied by a 1-year plan, which concentrates, on
specific actions and outcomes of the Department of Defence.
With the Deputy Minister of Defence, we have decided that he will
drive the completion of the transformation exercise in the DOD. He
will talk to that in this debate, with regard to the issues of
Representivity, the Reserve Force, the Service Corps and the
At the core of the transformation of the Defence Function is the
Defence Secretariat. Located within the Department of Defence, it
is responsible for the formulation of all aspects of defence
policy, the proper accounting for defence expenditure and it
provides a crucial resource for the Minister to enable him or her
to give political leadership to the defence function.
Whilst the Defence Secretariat is mainly civilian in composition it
must work together with uniformed personnel in order to draw upon
the military expertise housed within the SANDF. Civil oversight of
the defence function, that is oversight by the elected
representatives of the people, is a central tenet of a democratic
state. Defence, like any other function, must account to
The Defence Secretariat was re-introduced in 1994 as a result of
the negotiations. Its existence is ensured by the Constitution, and
we are now endeavouring to enable it to play its decisive
We are in the process of re-enforcing and enhancing the capacity of
the Defence Secretariat. Our aim is to so hone the performance of
the Defence Secretariat that it will better complement the work of
the SANDF. In this regard we are collaborating with the Department
of Public Service and Administration and the Public Service
We have begun to lay the foundations for success by intensifying
co-ordination between the offices of the Chief of the SANDF and the
Defence Secretary. To this end we are streamlining our strategic
forums and decision-making structures within the Department.
With the collective commitment of the Ministry, the Defence
Secretariat, and the Chief of the South African National Defence
Force I am confident that we will successfully achieve our
The area of defence procurement has been the subject of much debate
over the last period. As I have previously reported, the Department
has adopted all the recommendations of the Joint Investigation into
the Strategic Packages. But we are taking other measures in
addition to those recommended by the Auditor General, the Public
Protector and the National Prosecuting Authority.
Firstly, we will complete the transformation of Armscor during this
period. Its role and responsibilities primarily as a procurement
agency must be vividly distinct from Denel, the manufacturing arm
of the state sector. Any blurring of the functions between these
two entities will be eliminated. I have already had preliminary
discussions with the Minister of Public Enterprises (under whom
Denel falls). We are at one that there must be close co-ordination
between our two Departments.
I have instructed that we review Armscor's internal administrative
and operations activities to see how they match up to the process
started by the Cameron Commission. It is important that the whole
Armscor family conducts itself to standards of which this country
can be proud. We do not subscribe to the perception that the arms
industry is one that is shady and riddled with corrupt practices.
Democratic South Africa has constantly endeavoured to carry out its
defence business transparently. And we will be at the forefront of
the fight to maintain clean practices in relation to the defence
industry at home and abroad.
The White Paper on Defence Related Industries, which outlines
policy, needs now to be reviewed. One of the challenges will be to
successfully involve and ensure the participation of all role
players in the industry and civil society including faith-based
organisations. This will result in a comprehensive rather than a
fragmented approach. We must guarantee ongoing work in research and
development without which we will not be able to maintain our
leading position in this sphere.
Our approach must be informed by the need to increase our greater
collaboration among the nations of the South.
Our role in peacekeeping has itself been a learning process. The
recommendations made by Brahimi on behalf of the UN, still have to
be implemented and tested against our experience. It is important
now for us to widen our vision of what peacekeeping actually
involves. This we can do on the basis of our experience in Lesotho,
DRC, Burundi, Ethiopia and Eritrea. Without wanting to detract from
academic analysis, our own experiences in Burundi and the DRC, and
in a limited way in Ethiopia and Eritrea emphasise that we have to
be much more sensitive to a case by case analysis of each
Policy frameworks can only be broad. The tactics of peacekeeping
and peace enforcement have to be developed on the ground. We have
now the actual accumulated experience from which we can draw up our
recommendations and proposals. Training for peacekeeping, can now
be based on our own life experience. What is more, we are now in
the fortunate position of being part of an international network
whose purpose is to share experience and exchange ideas. This
interaction between officers and troops from within the Continent
and beyond is part of our adjustment to and participation in the
One of the lessons we have learnt in Burundi is that it is not
sufficient to bring combatants into a cantonment area, disarm and
register them. Beyond that, they have to see a future for
themselves wherein they can maintain their families and be part of
the development and construction of a peaceful society. They have
to have somewhere to go and something to do after they have laid
down their arms. We refer to this as sustainable
Disarmament and demobilisation were successful in Mozambique
because each combatant was given a sack of seed, a hoe, and a piece
of land. A defence force does not have the resources or the skills
to re-integrate combatants back into society.
Sustainable peacekeeping must be driven by the host Government who
must take the lead within a conglomerate of local NGOs and
international development organisations. The dynamic interaction
between the political and the military processes is therefore
The creation of the African Union and its sub- structures place a
heavy burden of responsibility on the security organs of our
country. Not least, the DOD, which is playing an important role in
the design and architecture of the Africa Standby Force.
From August this year, South Africa will be chairing the SADC Organ
on Peace and Security. We hope to bring together the defence
collective of our region to establish sound structures from which
we can operate. Our collective experiences must be pooled to
further stabilise our region and protect it from internal conflict
and ensuing disarray. We are increasingly involved in the security
structures of the region.
Linked to the normalisation of life in conflict situations are the
destruction of redundant weapons and the elimination of anti
personnel landmines. This will be high on our agenda in the coming
period. In this regard we welcome Namibia's offer of collaboration
given their facilities for the destruction of small arms.
To this end too we will take full part in the vigorous initiatives
by SADC to reconstruct Angola.
The African Common Defence and Security Policy is key to the
successful functioning of the Peace and Security Council of the
African Union. This will be formulated through a consultation
process among the defence formations on the Continent. It must
relate to the specific conditions we face because the causes for
conflict on our continent are complex. In many cases they are
structural and stem from social and economic deprivation. They also
include agents and interests originating outside our continent. Our
experience in Burundi has shown that the regulations governing
United Nations military intervention in the form of peacekeeping
need to be reviewed in order to make them more flexible.
By adopting an approach, which emphasises the creation of
conditions conducive to the signing of peace agreements, we have
shown that conditions for peace can be created. In certain
conditions there is a process that must precede the implementation
of Chapter 6 of the United Nations Charter.
Furthermore the genocide experience in Rwanda and present
developments in the DRC further underline the need to review the UN
system in peace support operations. Surely, the concept of human
security would seem to dictate that UN peace support forces must be
so mandated as to be able to intervene in the face of threat or
danger to civilian life in their presence.
To mandate neutrality in such circumstances will make humankind
accomplices in human tragedy similar to the Rwandan genocide by
omission or neglect of duty.
In the aftermath of the Rwanda genocide and the lessons of
hindsight humankind must rise to the responsibilities of our time.
Through political partnerships within our own region, on our
continent and even beyond with developing countries of the South,
we must develop a common view and approach in order to meet the
requirements and provide the resources to manage conflict.
Most important, with resources must go along the political will to
contain human tragedies for the sake of future generations!