Tony Yengeni should really not be on SADRC - David Maynier

DA MP welcomes review, but says it will be conducted in a budgetary vacuum

DA welcomes Defence Review but believes that Tony Yengeni should not be on the SADRC

The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu's decision to commence with the Defence Review. Today the Minister announced that she has appointed a South African Defence Review Committee (SADRC), which will be responsible for a long-term defence policy review and is tasked to produce a South African Defence Review Policy. The  SADRC will be headed up by Roelf Meyer.

However, we are concerned by the fact that the Defence Review is apparently being conducted in a budget vacuum, and believe that Tony Yengeni should not be a member of the SADRC.

The Interim National Defence Force Service Commission recommended that the defence department undertake an extensive and properly funded Defence Review. This review is absolutely vital because it provides an opportunity to reset the mandate, capabilities and funding levels of the Defence Force. 

However, Tony Yengeni is not a fit and proper person to serve on the SADRC, for the following reasons:

  • he was convicted of fraud relating to the arms deal and sentenced to four years imprisonment; and
  • he is currently being investigated by police for illegal directorships in contravention of Section 218 of the Companies Act (1973), which states that anybody convicted of theft, fraud, forgery or perjury is to be disqualified from being a director of a company.

His values clearly contrast with the core values of the Defence Force, which include integrity and honesty.

The fact is that the Minister exercised poor judgement in making the appointment and she should not have appointed Tony Yengeni.

Although the announcement today is a step in the right direction, we are concerned that the process may be flawed since it appears that the Defence Review:

  • will not have any input on the future force design of the defence force;
  • will be conducted in a budgetary vacuum; and that the force design will be effectively "warehoused" from any public participation process.

Ultimately, the Defence Review must translate into a new force design for the South African National Defence Force. The force design must be affordable and therefore properly costed over the long term. It cannot therefore be delinked from the defence budget constraint. The fact that the Defence Review does appear to be delinked from the defence budget constraint raises a serious question about the integrity of the defence review process.

The DA will therefore be writing to Mr Jerome Maake, Chairperson of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence, to request that he schedule a meeting with Roelf Meyer, Chairperson of the South African Defence Review Committee, to scrutinize the process envisaged in implementing the Defence Review.

Statement issued by David Maynier MP, DA Shadow Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, August 30 2011

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