National Assembly, 13th April 2011
The paramount duty of the Department of Defence and Military
Veterans is to defend the borders and people of South Africa.
Our defence veterans, our warriors of old must not be forgotten now
that they are too old to serve. They must be given a liveable pension
and other benefits. In this regard, the Inkatha Freedom Party seeks
clarity on who will qualify to be a veteran and exactly what
benefits will accrue to such persons.
Another concern is the ill-treatment of some members of the Defence
Force who don’t come from Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) or the Azanian
People's Liberation Army (APLA). We hear reports that these members
are being treated differently than members originally from MK or
APLA and are overlooked when it comes to promotions and benefits
within the Defence Force. We ask the Minister to investigate this
matter and report back to this house thereon.
The SANDF must continue with its recruitment drives. Advertisements
must be prominently displayed in each of our provinces. Our youth
who are currently one of the largest segments of our unemployed
should be encouraged to spend at least one or two years in the
service and defence of their country. The benefits of military
service : training, discipline, travel, remuneration and a sense of
responsibility and the knowledge that one has been a part of and
contributed to something bigger than oneself are just some of the
advantages of such training and as such it must be encouraged.
In this respect the National Youth Service Concept must remain one
of the departments key priorities. Budget should be made immediately
available for this and concrete plans for its implementation debated
and agreed upon.
The issue of Trade Unions operating within the Defence force is
another issue that must be dealt with immediately and decisively.
Trade unions have no place in any Defence Force as they undermine
military discipline, divide members and have the overall net effect
of weakening the military.
Honourable speaker, there can be only one Commander-In-Chief in any
armed force. In our case that is the President, represented herein
by the Honourable Minister. Soldiers have to be wholly loyal to the
chain of command. Trade Unions weaken that loyalty and by so doing
place the lives, not only of soldiers but also of civilians at
greater risk and for that reason alone trade unions cannot and
should not have any place within our military personnel structures.
The sale of arms and ammunitions to regimes guilty or even
reasonably suspected of committing human rights atrocities must be
not be allowed to take place under any circumstances. The IFP urges
the ministry to carefully scrutinize any requests for arms sales
very carefully lest South Africa becomes a party to human rights
abuses by states that we have supplied with arms.
In this regard honourable Chairperson the IFP would like to make a
request to the NCACC Chairman and Minister of Justice that he keep
an eye on what is occurring within the NCACC as the committees
oversight controls, which should prohibit the sale of weapons to
countries where they may contribute to international repression,
human rights violations or were likely to escalate regional military
conflicts, seem to be non-existent as is evidenced by the 70 million
rand in arms sales by South Africa to Libya in 2010.
Regarding Border security, the IFP welcomes the deployment of troops
along our borders, which have become so porous in the last 10 years.
This will greatly assist in the reduction of illicit human, animal
and goods movement across our borders and also hopefully reduce the
instances of Rhino poaching in our National parks situate along our
borders. Syndicates operating from bordering countries must be shut
down and we believe that our Defence force will do just this!
I thank you.
Hon VB Ndlovu