Budget Debate Vote Speech – Vote 19, Defence and Military Veterans

By Inkosi RN Cebekhulu MP

Spokesperson on Defence and Military Veterans

Delivered at Parliament

17 July 2019

Vote 19: Defence and Military Veterans

Chairperson, honourable Minister

Lt General of the SANDF

I wish to commend the Minister in allowing for the deployment of the SANDF to gang areas around Cape Town. But I also believe that should this intervention work, we need to emulate this model across the board as we arrest crimes in other parts of the country.

The use of the Military in this manner is a workable solution to assist the police in maintaining public order. We cannot have funerals every weekend in our communities.

Chairperson,

Our ports of entry in our country must be strengthened to arrest cross-border crime, syndicates, hijackings, human-trafficking and the poaching of rhino horn.

We believe that our men and women in uniform is best placed to assist in combatting crime as they are not actively busy in combat but we understand that our troops in peace keeping have an important role to play in ensuring that our human rights foreign policy is maintained.

Where we can best use our resources we need to maximise on that.

Chairperson, furthermore, it is worrying that our Military Veterans continue to be ill-treated and some are not receiving their benefits as was agreed to by the government administration.

We must address this issue swiftly. It is important that all veterans are treated equally across the country. The private MK Military Veterans of the ANC must be assisted by their mother organisation.

In terms of alleged corrupt activities within the ranks of the SANDF is of grave concern to the IFP.

Discipline within our defence force and overall image of the SANDF is essential.

We cannot have a situation whereby anyone within the ranks of our armed forces are becoming involved in criminal activities, corrupt activities and doing business with family members, friends and comrades.

This must be reined in. Military discipline is foundational and key in any successful defence force. It is a culture that must be bred and enforced with zero tolerance.

Chairperson,

Our SANDF has been in the news quite a lot over the past few months, from the very first female fighter jet pilot – which we congratulate on her achievement to some less congratulatory reports.

These reports include cases of discrimination of dress codes against some soldiers, bribes being paid to place individuals in the voluntary service of the defence force and shootouts with foreign government border officials.

Further to this, we have seen military exercises take place in the protected waters of false bay along the cape coast which endanger marine wildlife.

We need to make use of the budget presented in not only managing the SANDF but managing the reputation of our defence force.

We need to restore trust, integrity and confidence that our men and women who serve in the duty of our country do so in a manner which all South Africans can be proud of.

In line with constructive governance, the IFP supports this budget.