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Address by ANC MP, M.S Motimele on the Defence Amendment Bill

Speaker comrade M.S. Motimele on the debate of the Second Reading Debate on the Defence Amendment Bill at the National Assembly of the Republic of South Africa, Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Honourable Chairperson
Honourable Minister
Honourable Members of Parliament
Guests in the Gallery

The Defence Amendment Bill B18 of 2017 was submitted to the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans by the Department in June 2017.The Bill seeks to align the Defence Act 2 of 2002 with current departmental organisational requirements to enhance the efficiency of Defence and Military Veterans. The amendments are organisational in nature and apply internally to the Department of Defence.

Various consultations were conducted with stakeholders within the Department of Defence and the Bill was published for public comment in line with all public participation processes. No responses were received. The committee agreed that the Regulations would be dealt with at a later stage. The report of the Bill was adopted without amendments.

Contents of the Amendment Bill

The Amendment Bill amends the Principal Act by, inter alia, providing for the inclusion of a Chief of Corporate Staff in the Military Command of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) which is established by Section 4Aof the Act.

The Chief of Corporate Staff will be on the same level as Chiefs of Services and Divisions in the SANDF already included in the Military Command. The Defence Amendment Act of 2010, for the first time set out the composition of the Military Command.

The Chief of Corporate Staff, as the Staff Officer of the Chief of the SANDF, is critical for the proper functioning and coordination of the activities of the SANDF hence the need to include the Chief of Corporate Staff in the Military Command.

Among other amendments, the Bill provides for the security vetting of contractors and service providers of the Department. The issue of security at our military bases remains one of paramount importance therefore the Bill also provides for the prohibition of access to military property or areas i.e. citizen should be made aware and be warned that you do not just stumble in a military area without notice. The amendment empowers the Minister to prescribe measures to regulate access into military property or areas. 2010
The amendments provide for the simplification of matters when it comes to the identification cards issued to military police officials. Currently, the wording of the Act requires that regulations regarding these identification cards be promulgated by the Minister. The amendments provide for this issue to be dealt with by means of internal policies instead of regulations.

The Bill proposes an amendment to the requirements for legal representation in order to align Section 60 of the Defence Act with the Treasury Regulations regarding legal representation of SANDF members provided by the state in respect of an act committed in an official capacity.

The Bill also seeks to regulate the display of military decorations, medals and insignia. This aspect will be dealt with in the rules rather than the regulations. The Bill proposes that the criminal enforcement of the unlawful possession or wearing of military uniforms, distinctive marks or crests be regulated anew by amending section 104. This amendment is necessary as the unlawful wearing of military uniform does not only risk bringing the Defence Force into disrepute but it also confuses members of the public.

Conclusion

The Amendment Bill not only enhances the efficiency within the Department of Defence and Military Veterans, it also strengthens our territorial integrity and upholding the reputation of the Defence Force. We therefore propose that the Bill be adopted by this House.

     
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