1. The specific aims of the Committee are as follows:
a. To identify the personal and institutional factors that may have contributed to Lt Madubela’s actions;
b. To assess morale, cohesion and discipline at the Tempe Military Base prior to the shooting.
c. To assess morale and military preparedness at the Tempe Military Base subsequent to the shooting.
d. To determine whether there are racism, other types of discrimination and any racial, political or sectarian tension within the Tempe Military Base or elsewhere in the SANDF;
e. To inform the Minister of any reasonable suspicion that a member of the Department has committed a criminal or disciplinary offence. (The suspicion has to be duly tested and provable);
f. To assess the implementation and impact of the Civic Education Program and departmental policy on language, equal opportunity, affirmative action and representivity in the SANDF;
g. To propose measures that can be taken with the view to promoting morale, unity, discipline and military preparedness and to ensure the proper implementation of departmental regulations and policy in language, equal opportunity, affirmative action, respect for cultural diversity and related matters.
Such proposals may include action:
(i) that relates to legislation, regulations, policy, the military justice system, human resource management, psychological and related services, communication, training, education and institutional culture;
(ii) that should be undertaken by the Minister, the Secretary for Defence, the Chief of the Defence Force or any other official; and
(iii) that should be undertaken either specifically at the Tempe Military Base or more broadly in the SANDF.
1. The Committee will submit to the Minister of Defence an interim report and a final report as soon as possible.
1. The Committee shall have unrestricted access to all documents that may relate to its object and aims, including official correspondence, internal communiqués, personnel files and disciplinary records.
2. The Committee shall have unrestricted access to all members of the SANDF for the purpose of achieving its object and aims.
3. The Committee shall be independent, and no member of the SANDF shall undermine or impede its business or seek to influence its findings in an improper fashion.
4. The Chief of the SANDF shall issue an instruction requiring all members of the SANDF to co-operate with the Committee and comply with the provisions of paragraphs 1, 2 and 3.
5. Notwithstanding the above, no member of the Department shall be obliged to give evidence of a self-incriminatory nature.
1. The Committee shall determine the frequency, agendas, procedures and venues of its meetings.
2. The Committee shall issue a public notice which explains its terms of reference and that invites members of the SANDF to make written submissions to it. The Commanding Officer of the Tempe Military Base shall ensure that this notice is promptly displayed at the base in all official languages.
The Tempe incident, as the Committee understands it, triggered the establishment of the Committee. The Committee takes the view that this is a rather complex issue because it is not clear whether this was caused by provocation based on personal-, management- and administrative problems (his father’s death, pay stoppage whilst being a breadwinner in his family, the insecurity of not being staffed, or leave credit.) or if it implies racism as a motive. If the question presupposes that the incident was a result of grievances, then there are many individuals with grievances and it only takes one person to commit a murder. Whatever the case may be our conclusion is that an incident such as happened at Tempe could happen again at any time at many other bases in the Defence Force. This needs no explanation since it is a fact that similar incidents have happened again from Phalaborwa to KwaZulu Natal, to Cape Town and elsewhere.
1.2 Preface - Methodology
The Committee gathered its information through briefings by the responsible representatives of the SANDF, but mostly through hearings. With regard to hearings, the Committee endeavoured to make itself as accessible as possible for each and every member of the SANDF to come forth and speak freely without fear of victimisation and intimidation.
In order to achieve this, hearings were not held in public and cross-examination was not allowed. Submissions could be made orally and/or in writing in any language. Evidence was recorded but not given under oath. The Committee, having gathered information, added value to it through objective evaluation, drawing inferences, arriving at conclusions and making recommendations.
The methodology of the evaluation included, inter alia, an assessment of the reliability of the source of the information and the credibility of the content of the information itself.
In search of the true perspectives under such circumstances, the committee took great care when analysing evidence. It is quite understandable and natural for the witnesses/complainants, who came to the Committee to request it to assist them in solving their problems, to offer facts and argument that would promote understanding for their case and also present them in a positive light. The witnesses representing the organisation would likewise offer such argument as to defend the institution and their own integrity.
During evaluation, the Committee also focused on observing consistency in order to maintain logic and to avoid applying double standards.
The Committee tried to establish the perceptions of members of life in the SANDF. In this regard it should be noted, that for a variety of reasons, most of the people who applied to appear before the committee were privates and members of the lower ranks, mainly of African origin. Many of these had genuine concerns over their careers and permanent employment. The Committee have sound knowledge of their thinking.
The number of senior members who presented themselves was disappointing, especially whites. The latter’s explanation was that they would not want to be branded as persons who do not accept change, and lose their jobs. Lastly, the committee, of course cannot comment on those who chose not to testify.
It should be noted that the Committee brought forward in a very selective way some of the material that was reported in the Interim Report.
The Committee is of the view that this report is not definitive but merely highlights the problems within the Defence Force and makes recommendations on the process that should kick-off a more detailed process of change.
The Committee recognises that since its interim report the DoD has responded positively to the recommendations made. However, while some members of the non-statutory forces have been appointed in command positions their staff support-base is yet to be more representative.
1.3 COMPOSITION OF THE COMMITTEE
Dr B Setai, Chairperson
Ms N Lamani, former Senator and member of the NCOP
Gen J Geldenhuys, retired former Chief of the SADF
Col S Mbongwa, Executive Officer of Portnet
SECTION 2 : CHANGE - THE MILITARY IN TRANSFORMATION
2.1 Change and the environment
Change and its effects cannot be overlooked in any report of this nature, in fact, the management of change is what it is all about. The world’s continents, regions and countries all find themselves in some or another stage of change such as globalization. The explosion of computer-, communication-, and information technology impacts on virtually all aspects of everyday life, leaving some incapable of adapting.
Africa is continentalising, and on top of it the Southern African region, like other parts of the world, finds itself embroiled in turmoil, regional conflicts, poverty, and it is plagued by disease. And South Africa is changing its political-, social-, economic-, and military character at the same time, whilst beset with some of the same problems.
The SANDF is part and parcel of the South African society and the world at large. Sudden and rapid transformation started to come about in South Africa in one of the worst case scenarios for implementing change, namely a period of low economic growth and the resulting shortage of funds, a heterogeneous and fragmented society and high levels of unemployment. These are some of the root origins of low morale in the military community.
While this Committee was investigating, inter alia, racism in the Defence Force the Human Rights Committee was investigating racism in the South African media and while black empowerment is taking place in the Defence Force, it is also taking place in the civil service, the parastatals and the private sector.
Soon after 1994, the defence force was split in two, i.e. a civilian component under the Secretary for Defence and the military under the Chief of the SANDF. In the SANDF, Joint Command and its structures gave way in favour of Unity of Command. The army’s territorial command structures have been disbanded and its main National Service fighting force has been replaced by volunteer forces. The composition of the SANDF, in terms of race and gender representation, is in progress. In addition, funding has been severely cut.
The Committee’s report, based on information gained from command- and staff briefings and more so on personal testimonies, portrays a picture of change: how it was planned, how it is being managed, how it happens and its consequences.
The dynamics of change and how it is conducted as a factor affecting the current situation in the SANDF cannot be underestimated.
2.2 CHANGE AND FINANCE
The SANDF in transformation is in dire need of funding, either from the defence budget or from other sources.
A normal, stable defence force, for its day-to-day activities, can and should cope within its normal budget (A budget allocation within the percentage of the GNP internationally accepted). But a defence force in a period of sudden change of such scope and magnitude, should have special funding at its disposal.
Integration of different statutory and non-statutory forces and profound transformation, (i.e. restructuring and relocation of formations and units, establishing rapid race- and gender representativity and changing from a conscript to an entirely volunteer force), all these processes cost money that a stable, normal defence force does not have to fund. Furthermore, it would not be able to do so from its normal budget. This scenario would occur perhaps once in a lifetime.
But the SANDF had to find ways of financing all these changes from its "normal" budget – after it had been severely cut! Something(s) had to give in and did! The effects and results are to be noticed in just about every sphere of activity and in the well-being of the military community. It also had a tremendous impact on transformation and issues mentioned in the Terms of Reference, inter alia: Institutional Factors, Morale, Cohesion and Discipline, Racism, Political or Sectarian Tension.
One brief example is, members cannot be promoted because adequate funding is not available for one or all of the following: sufficient authorised posts, enough qualifying courses, enough vacancies per course, sufficient equipment and material (including ammunition) for training purposes – and this also creates fertile soil for friction of a racial nature, as described in the Interim Report. (August, 2000)
2.3 Change and a heterogeneous population composition
Cultural diversity is irrefutably a factor affecting cohesion and harmony in any organisation. In defence forces, cultural diversity hazards are often less difficult to overcome than in many other types of organisations. This is so, because members of a defence force find common ground, unity of purpose and camaraderie in a newly found military culture where they have a common mission, do things in the same way, wear the same uniform and speak the same jargon - even more so if it is a volunteer force.
While every national defence force has its own culture, being a sub-culture of the national culture, it is also true that military cultures have much in common worldwide, that may be described as a universal military culture. Some such common aspects are precision, uniformity, orderliness and the military concept of obedience or discipline. These commonalities should make it easier to merge diversity, but there are also differences in military cultures of immense importance.
Superficially analysing the South African military community in a process of integration and transformation, one could easily overlook the diversity in constituent military cultures (the statutory and non-statutory forces), that had to be overcome in order to forge cohesion and unity – a tremendous task.
The SADF of 1994, like the other statutory forces, in pure military terms, shared much of the universal military culture of conventional forces world-wide. MK and APLA, on the other hand, shared much of the common culture of revolutionary forces all over the world. One could never have understanding and sympathy for the behaviour of the members of these different elements during the merging process, if the different military cultural diversities are not constantly borne in mind.
The SADF/SANDF, much like other conventional forces, is a corporate organisation, authoritarian by nature, with a pyramidically structured hierarchy and basically a centralised style of management. It has relatively rigid channels of command and communication and it functions by means of rules and regulations, systems and processes. Apart from certain specific exceptions, initiative and freedom of action are restricted. The smallest self-contained sub-structure, generally speaking, is a unit, comprising about 1 000 members.
In such a structure, with many levels of rank, as one rises through the ranks, the incumbents become more senior and advanced in age and are cumulatively burdened with more encumbrances and responsibility on the one hand, but acquire more status, respect and privileges on the other hand. Respect and obedience are not necessarily personally linked to the incumbent, but to higher rank and appointment. Politically speaking, a defence force serves the government of the day.
Some common characteristics of the culture of revolutionary forces, are that they are so organised as to operate in small independent groups with maximum freedom of action and initiative, free of rigid regulations and prescribed channels of communication. There are commanders and troops, often with little or no rank structure that cannot be compared with the 15-level rank structure of a conventional defence force. They adopt an approach of "share and share alike", without reserving special privileges for anybody, whilst showing little of the formal military type of respect for rank.
In a small team, troops and the commander interact on a personal and daily basis. They are highly politicised. By nature they are intent to resist, to defy, to test, to protest, to challenge and fight official authority. This was for many decades part of the non-statutory revolutionary forces’ ingrained culture. And it would have been naïve and unreasonable to expect that this ingrained nature would disappear overnight. In this respect, it is much more difficult for non-statutory members to adapt. ("We are now in the second phase of the revolution").
However, this point is not a generalisation, it is only something to note. During our investigations it was clear that the members are intent on respecting rank and authority. The problem is that they feel it is being abused.
Some statutory force members, although they expected and accepted change, probably did not in the beginning anticipate that it would be so rapid and radical. Some non-statutory force members, although realising that they did not force a settlement through decisive military victory, probably initially expected more rapid and total military empowerment by the new government as reward for their contributions.
Apart from the divergent military cultures, the expectations of the two groups, i.e. the statutory and non-statutory forces, also have to be forged into a common cause. This was and still is, a formidable challenge.
2.4 CHANGE AND UNEMPLOYMENT
It is general knowledge that the authorised human resources (personnel) establishment of the DoD and of the SANDF, have been drastically cut. In short, there are thousands more people in the employ of the DoD than for whom there are posts available – they are supernumerary. In other words, there is a huge surplus of people.
Among the privates and lower ranks, where affirmative action representation target figures have already to a large extent been achieved, there are many thousands who have not yet been staffed. Understandably, they are suspicious that they will probably count amongst the "surplus leftovers". They are naturally uncertain and concerned as to what will become of them in a society with significant big unemployment figures.
Among more senior ranks, consisting mainly of whites, where race- and gender representation targets are still far from accomplished, there are hundreds, if not thousands of ex-statutory force members, who are suspicious that they may be "affirmative actioned" out of the system. In similar vein, they are equally uncertain about their fate. These perceptions may well cause bigger morale problems than actual retrenching.
With regard to the category of privates and lower rankings, although painful, it is one thing to retrench many qualified administrative civilians, but it may prove dangerous to discharge thousands of trained soldiers into a society where unemployment levels are high.
With regard to both categories, to retrench thousands of people is costly. On the other hand, to continue to employ them in the present unproductive manner, is not an acceptable solution. These thousands of supernumeraries or "not staffed" members are insecure, worried about their future, frustrated and therefore of low morale. As a category of members, they constitute a considerable percentage of complainants who appeared before the Committee. Conversely their "staffed" colleagues, in whose midst they find themselves, are understandably also negatively affected.
The SANDF is well aware of the problem and in the meanwhile, until such time as the staffing process has been completed and a solution for the dilemma found, the policy is that so-called supernumeraries should be "treated the same" as their staffed colleagues.
In practice, this policy does not have the desired effect, because bases are planned to accommodate only a certain number of members in terms of office and work space as well as and living-in accommodation. Likewise, equipment and various items, (such as quantities of ammunition for training), are supplied only according to the authorised establishment.
To practically illustrate the problem, an actual military police station has an authorised establishment of 15 members. Together with the supernumeraries, they now number 100. Therefore 85 members cannot be sensibly and productively utilised in practice, due to the simple fact that the station is equipped with, for example, bicycles and torches for only 15 members.
In another case, the Committee visited a group HQ with a unit in the process of being closed down. Most of its members have already been staffed and transferred to other units. The remainder, were those who were not staffed, representative of all ranks and cultural groupings. Naturally they would be frustrated and it would be difficult to keep them occupied and meaningfully utilised.
There are in fact, many non-staffed supernumerary members, who are extremely frustrated. In the absence of a viable Exit Plan, their agony will simply be prolonged. Sooner or later a solution has to be found. The ostrich-syndrome may eventually cause a showdown type of problem.
Supernumerary members blame the commanding officer for not preparing them for jobs outside the SANDF, should they not have been staffed at the end of the process. It is unfair to expect this from any one of the hundreds of unit commanders, as they cannot all have their "own little schemes". This problem should be addressed by the DoD.
The Exit Plan, apart from the supernumeraries, should also make provision for ex-non-statutory force members of a more advanced age. Once again, it should pertinently be borne in mind that we are dealing with a situation that arises perhaps once a century in any country. In this situation of change and transformation, it is regrettable that one finds senior members, in age and status, who have reached the stage where their wish, namely to go into retirement, cannot be accommodated, due to the fact that their pensionable service in the SANDF is insufficient.
This problem has indeed been recognized and adjustments have been made, but in some cases are not sufficient and have to be revised. Witnesses have claimed that the years of pensionable service of members of the ex-TBVC-forces, go back to their date of enlistment, whilst MK and APLA veterans are not treated similarly. A once-off special arrangement, despite financial constraints, should seriously be considered.
In addition, the DoD should consider forging partnerships with the Private Sector to educate, train and employ such veterans. The current Service Corps may form a significant link in this process. The crux however, remains the provision of sufficient funding to facilitate this process.
See Appendix A for a number of case studies, illustrating the effect of Management of Change on Morale.
SECTION 3 : MAINSTREAM ISSUES
3.1 GENERAL OVERVIEW
The term Integration, in terms of the Department of Defence (DoD) implies the coming-together of the two non-statutory forces (NSF) and six statutory forces (SADF, TBVC and KwaZulu). In terms of the Force Design, the intermediate objective of the government is to reduce the size of the SANDF under a One Defence Force-concept. Furthermore, the government intends to achieve several objectives.
Firstly, to reduce the post-establishment, whilst ensuring that all the required functions are covered in a low-threat-scenario. Secondly, it must, through the same process, achieve representivity in terms of the following guidelines:
Reduce the strength of the Defence Force to 70,000 broken to reflect the population composition as follows: Africans (64.68%), Whites (24.35%), Coloureds (10.22%) and Asians (0.75%);
The Defence Review clearly states that the formula to be used in downsizing should reflect equitable distribution between former statutory and non-statutory forces, giving due regard to the maintenance of technological expertise. In this regard, the following guidelines, which include the civilian population are provided: SANDF CIV 1.13%, SANDF 9.27%, MK 14.14%, TBVC CIV 1.22%, TBVC 10.06%, SADF CIV 21.93%, SADF 34.15%, KZSPF 2.60% and APLA 5.5%.
The budget is also of great concern and the objective is to reduce the overall budget from R11 316 million in 1996/97 to R9 721 million in four to ten years. In terms of the components, the objective is to achieve the following breakdown:
To change the composition of total expenditure from 37.9% in 1996/97 to 40% in four to ten years.
Capital expenditures from 18.6% to 29.6% in four to ten years; and
Operating costs from 43.5% to 30.4% in four to ten years.
NOTE: The following discussions relating to mainstream issues are a result of an in-depth study of the various oral and written representations that were put before the Committee during the course of its investigation. The issues have been grouped in accordance with the topics as provided in the Terms of Reference. It is inevitable that this methodology will lend itself to overlapping of issues. The reader is requested to bear this perspective in mind.
3.2 TRANSFORMATION, STRUCTURES AND PROCESSES
3.2.1 Transformation : High Level Considerations
The crux of the matter is the Minister, as the political head of the department, wants transformation and has issued instructions to this effect. It is a momentous task riddled with a myriad of intricacies, but it has to be done.
But if, from the level of the Minister, one moves to the level of the unit commanding officers, (ground level) where transformation is taking place, it seems as if CO’s have to bear the brunt of it all, with scanty resources and little support at their disposal. By way of inferences and observations one gets the impression that too little of the right value had been added to the Minister’s instructions on the way down. There is an abundance of policy statements, staff studies and –papers, systems, processes, procedures and guidelines as well as the establishment of new staff directorates. But what appears to be lacking, are Command Decisions and Plans with attainable Objectives and Orders for their implementation, including the rendering of the required logistical- and other support, to enable subordinate commanders to execute the task and achieve those objectives.
3.2.2 Lack of funds
Integration, transformation and change to demographic representation, to name but a few, are not functions a normal defence force in a relatively stable situation would have to fund from its normal budget. A case in point, is that severe budget cuts and the down-sizing create a threatening unemployment crisis within the SANDF. In practice, it means that there are many more people than the usual number of applicants for a single vacant post. And every time this happens, when the applicants are of different races and genders, racism comes into play partly because whites seem to be the preferred candidate especially for the higher level jobs..
It is recommended that since this is a national problem, the DoD’s solution should ideally be based on a national plan that must take into account policies such as representivity equity and others..
3.2.3 Governance and Management of Change
The transformation process has generated problems and hardships for which there seems to have been no prior planning. The closing and amalgamation of bases and establishing new ones, have resulted in relocating members and their families from one area of South Africa to another.
For example, many troops from the Eastern Cape region (both ex-statutory and ex-non-statutory forces), were relocated and consequently we found members whose home region is the Eastern Cape, who have been moved to various other parts of the country. The Committee encountered numerous individuals, originally from the Eastern Cape in other regions of the country, who pleaded to return to the Eastern Cape, due to family problems.
We encountered a person in Bloemfontein, whose wife lives in an Eastern Cape village and whenever he wants to give personal attention to his wife’s medical treatment, to which she is entitled, he has to work through somebody in Bloemfontein, via somebody in Port Elizabeth, via somebody in Umtata and then from Umtata to the district surgeon in whose area that village is.
The poor housing and accommodation problems at Ellisras, arose inter alia as a result of closing down of military bases in the former Lebowa. Those members were previously well-accommodated, before being sent en masse to Ellisras. At this base, there is no accommodation and they are living in disused aircraft hangars.
The opening and closing of bases, has also created many other problems. For example, as part of restructuring, members were transferred from Mafikeng to Zeerust. As a result, they now have to commute 60 kilometres to and from work. Even though the CO at Zeerust has used his own authority, at the risk of being charged to provide transport, the problem still persists. Members still arrive late, resulting in charges of AWOL, whilst other members still encounter problems with medical- and transport issues.
It is safe to say that this is a generic problem where members have been moved around and it would appear that in many instances, these movements have been conducted without the necessary prior planning or impact studies having been conducted.
Detached duties have also emerged as critical factors in the restructuring of bases. Detached duties have been frozen despite the reality that they may be required to alleviate hardships such as those described above.
Communication, which was supposed to be central to the transformation process, is inadequate and as a result, rumours abound. In would appear that informal communication takes precedence over formal communication at all levels. An organisation that finds itself in this state, cannot be a healthy organisation.
The tendency for denial may partially explain why some systems have collapsed. The grievance procedure is one of the most discredited of the systems. Members either have their complaints partly attended to, totally ignored or if resolved, usually only after periods exceeding a year. (See Appendix A for an example)
These and similar stories exacerbate the impression members have, that many jobs, particularly unattractive ones, are reserved for blacks. Falling in this category are guard duties. To fuel this claim, there are hardly any whites who perform guard duties. (The Committee only encountered three during its visits)
3.2.4 The role of the Secretary for Defence
The Constitution requires that change in the SANDF be driven by a civilian component.
It would appear as if it is not generally known that the Secretary of Defence is ultimately accountable for ensuring representivity. Thus, the non-compliance of the Staffing Boards leave the Secretary of Defence open to criticism. We note that the equal opportunity provisions apply to all members of the SANDF and employees of the DoD. The Policy on Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action states as follows:
"Failure to comply with the requirements (affirmative action), and/or provisions of this policy may constitute an offence that shall be dealt with in terms of the provisions of the Defence Force Act 1957, Act 44 of 1957, specifically in terms of the provisions of the MDC for military members and the Public Services Act 1994. That is proclamation number 103, 1994 and the Labour Act 1995 in the case of civilian employees of the DoD. All other personnel, not included above, working in the DoD environment, shall be dealt with in terms of appropriate legislation.
The responsibility for the implementation of the above, rests with the head of department who is accountable to the Minister of Defence. Alternatively, the head of the department shall ensure that all chiefs of the DoD components, implement this policy and its programs in the respective areas of their responsibility. The Minister is deemed to be responsible to Parliament for the implementation of this policy".
The Chief of the Army is responsible for the final staffing of a given formation through the Staffing Boards. However, what is not clear is how responsibilities have been allocated in the staffing processes except to point at various boards. Staffing Boards, are not legal entities and they are also not stable as they form and disperse from time to time to perform a given task. At the unit and formation levels, the responsibility seems to lie with the boards. Relevant officials at HQ believed that accountability lies with the person who approves the recommendation for the staffing boards who happen to be the chiefs of arms of service. But clearly, clarity is needed to ensure accountability.
In this regard, the Minister's Office has the following structures: The Secretariat of the Minister, Secretariat of the Deputy Minister and Office of Equal Opportunity. The Defence Force has its own secretariat chaired by General Nyanda. Overall the Minister has an apex organisation called the Defence Council through which he co-ordinates his policy responsibilities.
The political head of the department, the Minister, has given clear policies and directives. His vision and mission are clear.
As also mentioned earlier, in the military hierarchy downwards, it would appear as if the SANDF relies too much on staffs administering systems and processes to achieve the Minister’s vision and mission. What seems to be lacking, is planning and decisions on the top command level followed by issuing clear and attainable instructions and orders, as well as holding subordinate commanders responsible for their execution. For example, processes and guidelines have been issued for the achievement of reaching representation target figures, but there appears to be no plan to this effect as such.
Having received the Minister’s instructions, the Secretary and the C SANDF are responsible to do their own planning (assisted by their staffs).
3.2.5 Reinforcements of the Command Line Functions
The biggest problem facing the top military command, is the complicated matter of managing change - the change in values, radical major issues such as integration, transformation and achieving race- and gender representation. Other changes are also taking place at the same time, relating to restructuring and downsizing. All this had and has to happen despite severe cutbacks in funding.
A critical weakness with the current transformation project, is that is does not have a Change Management Strategy and Implementation Plan in place. The negative issues that arise as a result of change, have an opportunity to go unnoticed and in some cases unmanaged. The Equal Opportunity Directorate is currently training the change management facilitators to be deployed to various departmental units. This is a welcome development, but it will require sound planning before these agents can be effective.
Another important point, is that the Department is engaged with rationalisation and re-engineering of its organisational structure. While this is an important stage in the transformation of the Department, the predominant view in the Department is that this is indeed transformation. Consequently, it is not unusual to hear ranking members talk of transformation being in its final stages. Thus, critical issues such as change of mindsets and systems are not considered.
In one casualty unit of the SAMHS, a white captain appeared before the Committee rather distraught. Her complaint was that she was robbed out of a job and the resulting promotion, because the type of questions the external reviewers asked, had nothing to do with her job. She was convinced that even her CO, who was sitting on the selection panel, could not answer those questions. She was unhappy that the CO did not come to her rescue. She was asked to explain what the following words mean; Batho Pele (People First) and uBuntu. As we have indicated, she is convinced that these have nothing to do with her job.
A lot of work still remains to be done to ensure that there is cohesion in the DoD. Members still see the identity of the NSF’s and the SADF, as different. Various diverse elements making up the DoD, still need credible processes to help them work towards a single defence force. The SADF stands out as an army and it is seen to be in control by all the ex-NSF members. The process of integration is seen as others being absorbed by the ex-SADF.
The clash of members, accustomed to a traditional conventional force and its universal military culture, with members of traditional unconventional/revolutionary/guerrilla forces with its own universal military culture, is much underestimated. A problem, which often originates between members of the SANDF, as a result of such organisational military divergence (in other words, conventional- versus unconventional military culture) becomes a racial issue - the conventional forces containing mostly whites and the revolutionary forces, other races. Somewhere during integration and transformation, there should have been, hypothetically and ideally, a series of workshop/team building sessions between such members in the form of situation-learning processes.
3.2.6 Monitoring and once-off adjustments
It is inevitable, during a period of change of such magnitude, that in practice, unforeseen problems would arise. However, either the monitoring of progress does not reveal such problems at an early stage and even if so, it would appear as if the problems are left to continue and to grow even worse. What seems to be lacking, is command intervention. It is conceded that in some cases the problem, as described above, may not be entirely within the authority and capability of the military commanders to solve and in need of high-level strategic intervention. An illustration of this need, is the provision of funds and the changing of regulations which do not only affect the DoD, but also other departments, as in the case of regulations accommodating cultural customs and traditions.
However, adjustments could be considered to be made by the DoD itself, if funds were available, for example, to make once-off adjustments in the following cases: Revision of the ranking of integratees and catching up on the backlog of courses for integratees and ex-auxiliary force members, as well as for those who did not qualify for courses, because of age restrictions and other factors.
It should also be noted that, during the ranking process, former members of the TBVC-forces complained that they were told during integration that their personal files, reflecting their service records, were either not available or incomplete. This they claim resulted in them having been under-ranked.
In an organisation such as the SANDF, change has to be initiated, planned, steered and controlled by the top commander. It is his responsibility. Change is further managed and controlled along the command line, right down to the bottom. The staff (function) is there for the support of the commanders in fulfilling their tasks, but they, the staff, do not bear the responsibility.
A prerequisite and responsibility for managing change, is that the top command should devise a plan to create the atmosphere and climate, which would be conducive for subordinate commanders (and all the people in the organisation), to achieve the new goals.
The other main problem facing the incumbents down the command line, starting at the top, are:
(a) Filling the posts in the new structures with people according to the race- and gender ratios; and
(b) During this process, to maintain combat readiness, i.e. performing the force’s primary task (core business), it is necessary and also their responsibility to monitor (and adjust where necessary) universal military standards, forging cohesion and high morale.
Just like a plan is needed to create the desired climate, plans are also needed for removing the obstacles in the way of success.
At present in practice, the single most important aspect to overcome, is filling the posts in the new structures. Since it is clear from the start, that there will be a surplus of employees after all the posts have been filled, there should be a plan of how they will be accommodated.
The Committee is of the opinion that even more attention should be focused on planning and decision making - on the part of commanders - whilst placing less emphasis and reliance on staff organisations and staff officers.
The Committee does not report that these above-mentioned aspects have been completely ignored, but it has experienced that responsibility is hard to pin down at the right place and that, what should be instructions/orders, are left to "service level agreements" to sort out. There seems to be a preference for passing the Minister’s wishes verbatim from top to bottom without adding value to them, for example, if feasibility studies have been done, some orders/instructions would definitely have been found to be not feasible.
The Committee also found that it would seem as if the SANDF is "bureaucratically friendly" and "command obscured". There is a prominent conglomerate of staff directorates, sections, satellites and clusters, but a low profile and fragmented command line.
During restructuring, a unit had been closed down and the students at this unit were redirected to two other units. This has all been done in an ad hoc manner without a formal command instruction for this to happen.
It seemed as if the civilian consortium facilitating the creation of a transformed SANDF, during the design phase, focussed on a process-driven approach, characterised by reduced levels of accountability. The support- and sustainment services system does not guarantee positive outcomes and command is being exercised by means of Service Level Agreements. The complex command and control system creates an environment that is not conducive to productivity.
An illustration that proper planning had probably not been done is that, according to the Committee's recollection, we were never presented with the mathematical picture, meaning the numbers involved. In other words, if there are a certain number of colonel-posts (including commanders- and staff officers posts) to be filled, one has to find out how many persons are available for promotion or appointment into these posts. If one talks about ratios and quotas, one talks about figures. In the military, as anywhere else, if one has to do a job, in your planning you have to determine what you have available in order to do that job. In this case, it is a question of, what people are available for appointment in these posts?
Although the Committee does not have exact figures, it does not hesitate to say that, at integration the number of non-statutory force members available for integration, was totally and disproportionately small in comparison with the numbers of statutory force members.
At this point it should also be borne in mind that, in terms of management science, there are internationally accepted percentages from a certain body of people, who will be absorbed in top management structures, whilst a certain percentage will occupy middle management positions and so on, until the process is completed.
If these formulas are applied and if one has the exact figures, one would get a rough, but workable idea of how many people from the former non-statutory- and statutory forces, who are more or less competent, will be available for WO1’s and colonel posts. Should the Chief of the Army have to appoint a formation commander, he will be presented with the available options and he will also know that his own success will depend on the success of his subordinate commanders.
Some of the process gaps identified by the Committee in terms of staffing are:
The design of a migration plan and a staffing strategy
Definition of standards in a new and transformed Department of Defence,
The need to undertake a needs analysis of the new structures,
The need to conduct a skills analysis for staffing purposes,
The need to determine a training gap for the staffed members
The need to conduct an audit trail as members move from the "as is" to the "to be" structure,
Consultation on strategies and implementation of staffing with relevant stakeholders
Definition of norms and standards in a changing environment
Plans to determine staffing levels
Equitable distribution of members by function.
Management plan of members in terms of short, medium and long term contracts.
It is recommended that the above process gaps form the basis of a comprehensive review of the staffing process.
The Committee does not doubt that all the black generals support national representivity to the full, but we are equally convinced that they also have their problems of which we may be unaware and which were not presented to us.
Unless there is a quick turn around at the middle management level, which is really the face to the Department, people will continue to feel uneasy about the SANDF that they perceive to be "White led and White controlled".
Outsourcing is not well-understood in the SANDF, especially at level four, particularly by troops in workshops. In most cases they find that their normal responsibilities are out-sourced and they are left idle while drawing full salaries. There are also claims of corruption involved in the out-sourced services such as overcharging or unnecessary repairs, especially in vehicle repair workshops. Such claims are widespread and the Committee recommends special investigations of all the out-sourced contracts and their performance, particularly in workshops.
3.2.8 IT Services
The four Arms of Service each have their own dedicated IT languages, that are not compatible. In addition, we were informed that the general technology of the Department is behind that of other departments. The Department does not have E-mail facilities. Communication with other departments is not easy. There is a need to improve this aspect of the Department. (Please see the paragraph on Communication for further inputs in this regard)
3.2.9 Uncoordinated initiatives
Coordination in the change process requires review. Some members of the SANDF complained that they had gone through the whole process until they were officially staffed and of course are very happy about it. But at a later stage, they were surprised by being told that their posts had been scrapped and they were no longer staffed.
The lesson here is that change and its implementation have to be planned, managed, adjusted and coordinated, stage by stage. According to this example, based on evidence, this had been lacking, either by default or by force of circumstance.
As an example, in the process of redesigning organisational structures and personnel establishment tables, a higher HQ decided to delete a sub-structure (a security/protection platoon) from a subordinate organisation, with the intention of incorporating it into another organisation. Consequently the officer commanding the original organisation, was instructed to inform the platoon’s 30 odd members that the posts they had held no longer existed. Unfortunately the posts had not yet been authorised at their new "home", which meant that they had become supernumeraries.
Although it is possible that by now those people have been reinstated and staffed at the new organisation, in the meantime they have suffered insecurity, confusion and frustration and thus low morale.
In a similar case, four sergeant posts at a certain section of a unit, were officially filled through the prescribed staffing process. But at a later stage the higher HQ informed the commanding officer that, due to restructuring, the four posts had been reduced to two and instructed him to inform two of the four incumbents that they were no longer staffed. To ease the immediate resultant tension and insecurity amongst the four sergeants, the commanding officer instructed them all to reapply for the two posts.
These examples illustrate the complexities involved in managing change, but also serve as "innocent" examples of how ineffective administrative management can create circumstances conducive to causing tension.
Ineffective administration is widely acknowledged as one of the important factors causing low morale. This was certainly the case in the examples above. If however, the same type of thing occurred in a situation where the members concerned were of different race and gender groupings and some were appointed or nominated to attend a course and others did not – like in the case of the four sergeants - it would certainly have led to suspicions and accusations of discrimination and racism. Troops would hold the commanding officer responsible, either rightly or wrongfully so, depending on his management effectiveness.
3.2.10 Flow of human resources
The flow of personnel (human resources): A normal defence force in a stable environment has: (a) a flow of people into the organisation; (b) their utilisation; and (c) a flow of members out of the force.
Most of what the Committee has heard, had to do with the management of the members in the utilisation phase. Very little was said about the overall cycle: The plan for recruiting the right members for the right post, to achieve transformation objectives, as well as the plan for the exit of personnel.
Demobilisation usually happens after cessation of hostilities, and the scrapping of the conscript system can be regarded as one such aspect of demobilisation. But then also came downsizing, which required another plan for the outflow of personnel to achieve the downsizing objectives. This exit plan seems to be lacking.
It is recommended that an exit plan be drawn up to manage the flow of personnel in and out of the SANDF.
3.2.11 Command functions and responsibilities
The command functions and responsibilities are overall vested in the Chief of the SANDF. (i.e. Excluding the Secretary for Defence). For example, the Chief of the Army does not have the overall command of the Army. He is not responsible for the command of his troops during operations. That falls under something like the general officer commanding joint operations or something similar.
Lower down an officer commanding a unit stationed in a base area, such as an infantry battalion, will functionally resort: (a) under the general officer commanding the Infantry Formation for force preparation; (b) under the general officer commanding a joint task force for deployment and operations; (c) under the officer commanding the GSB for Logistic Support (actually he does not "fall under" him, but he is reliant on him for such support. But the Chief Officer of the GSB may be of a higher rank than him); and (d) under a base commander, if there is one, for administrative control, in the case where there are more units than one accommodated in such a base. He also has people on "his" staff that is not responsible to him, but to their functional heads elsewhere, probably Pretoria, for example, a human resources staff officer.
What further complicates the issue, is that the same as above applies to every other unit accommodated in the same base. For example, there may also be an armoured regiment or a military police organisation. They also fall under different superior commanders. In practice, what happens is that the commanding officer of the infantry battalion may receive instructions or information from the general officer commanding the Infantry Formation. The commanding officer of the Armoured Regiment may receive the corresponding instruction only a while later, or it may differ from the first mentioned instruction. To quote a practical example: A unit at the base in the Cape received a policy instruction to the effect that promotions have been frozen. A short while later, military policemen in the same base area got promoted. All this naturally causes confusion, suspicion, distrust and frustration.
The above paragraphs dealt with mostly army elements, and the disposition on unit level, but the same phenomenon is also encountered in the case of other branches of the service as well as on other levels, such as the status of a Group Headquarters.
In terms of combined practical field combat training there are no combined regiments or formations in the SA Army. Infantry units are scattered all over the country in its pure and unaffiliated form, such as the battalion at Eersterust or wherever. The same goes for artillery and armour and other units. But during operations (peace-keeping operations may be a different thing) infantry seldom acts alone and the same goes for tanks. They are always formed into one organisation, hence the word "formation" and sometimes "regiments", together with all the other elements, such as communications, health, technical support elements and others.
And the only permanent organisation that came to the attention of the Committee, comprising all these elements into one, is at Lohatla. That is where the practical combined training for operations, takes place. In the form of an analogy, this would be similar to have a Lohatla Soccer Club, or any soccer club, where the goal keepers, midfielders, and strikers all train in different towns and only come together before a match once in a while.
It is clear that a lot of soul searching is needed. Perhaps the Defence Force needs to dig deep in its tradition to address certain issues of a fundamental nature. It is the view of the Committee that this attitude, during the time of transition, could be a tragic factor because it leads to denial. It is not even a matter of people projecting to the world that things are fine, but there is also a tendency amongst some of the people to give an impression that they also indeed think things are fine, even internally when that is not the reality.
3.2.12 Civilian vs non-civilian posts
While change and transformation are an absolute must, it is unfortunate that aspects which are not absolutely vital to the core-issues of transformation, had to be introduced in addition to ("on top of") and at a higher priority than all the others.
For example, with all the frustrations already caused by budget-cuts, downsizing and supernumeraries, another change was introduced causing an accumulation of problems, namely the order that all military personnel in Level 7-posts now had to shed their uniform and re-apply for his/her post or apply for another post. Members who were previously staffed, now feared that they were going to lose their jobs or that they might have to move to a new unit and/or location. The immediate symptom of discontent was to criticise: People alleged that uniformed personnel cannot work under civilian seniors.
To describe more accurately what is meant by "on top of": Eight former forces, including ex-statutory and ex-non-statutory forces as well as those who directly joined the SANDF, had to be integrated. This was a monumental task and is not yet complete. At the same time, transformation started in terms of race and gender representation. Also in the meantime, organisational re-structuring which had nothing to do with race and gender, was introduced.
The issue of common posts is highly contentious. Civilians feel that ex-soldiers continue to be favoured over them in the filling of posts. A significant majority of them feel highly frustrated.
As an example and with reference to rules and regulations, it is important that the profile of the civilian component should be increased and made visible within the DoD, to avoid a likelihood of treating civilians under military regulations. For example, special leave is an issue that crops up frequently in the DoD and the DoD seems to be quite inflexible on this issue. It is likely that there is no clear policy to guide officials in this regard. In terms of civilians, the collective agreement reached in the Public Service Central Bargaining Chamber (PSCBC Resolution No 3), states that departments must have a written policy on special leave.
There are many relevant issues of personnel management relating to, for example, career management, promotions, merits, allowances, notches and mustering that need to be addressed in this regard. The DoD is at various stages of addressing these issues and they are all important as they are inter-linked.
3.2.13 National and regional demographics
It is suggested that one of the instructions of the Minister to which value could have been added before implementation, is the matter of the SANDF having to reflect the national demographic population composition. While fully supporting the policy, the same goal could possibly have been achieved on a different basis than the present method. The following paragraphs contain certain concepts, which are presented for consideration:
The Minister’s instruction is interpreted as that every HQ, formation and unit should be composed in the same ratios between races as reflected by the national figures. The same applies in respect of ranks, corps and musterings. Looking at it superficially, it appears to be in order, but in practice, where commanding officers have to implement the instruction, serious human suffering is often the result.
With reference to a practical example: Commanding officers of units in the Western Cape inherited units comprising overwhelmingly of coloureds, which they now have to "get rid of", while at the same time, recruiting Africans). The coloureds include families who have lived in the region for many years in government houses or houses they have bought or built themselves. They are settled in a society. At the same time, many African people, who were in recent years incorporated into such units, now request to be transferred to the Eastern Cape, where they have family ties and obligations.
At the same time a commanding officer in the Eastern Cape told the Committee that there are not enough whites, in fact none, applying for posts in his unit and that he cannot achieve the prescribed white complement. He was told by his higher HQ to make a plan and he is now shopping around on the "old boys network", trying to recruit whites.
The outcome of the composition (and representation) of a unit is a direct function of the advertising/applications/acceptance of the staffing process, over which a unit commanding officer has but little influence. A good example is the Army Combat School at Lohatla. Nobody wants to be stationed there and therefore, very few apply. Most of those who do, happen to be whites and coloureds. Many of them will have to be utilised elsewhere and be replaced by Africans.
The GOC of the Army Combat School also pointed out that there are not enough women from the region applying for posts at Lohatla, in order to achieve the required gender representation. To do this, will require recruitment in other areas, which could not be done from Lohatla.
While the staffing process does have good points, it inevitably also has its flaws and weak points. It is not always financially productive, for example, also at Lohatla, Ratel (Infantry Combat Vehicle) drivers were transferred to Pretoria as store-men, because that was where they wanted to be, applied for, and were subsequently staffed. Likewise, the problem is left for commanding officers in the Northern Cape to "get rid of" coloureds, who are reluctant to apply for posts elsewhere and to recruit Africans, seemingly unwilling to go or stay there. There are many other examples in various parts of the country.
Another practical problem for which a solution should be found, is that the national population ratios do not correspond with the demographic ratio of some of the professions. By way of practical illustration, if it is required that the SANDF’s medical officers should be composed in the same ratio as in the national composition of the population, the SANDF may have to employ most of the African doctors in the country. The solution should therefore be found in a national plan with the SANDF as a participant
One should bear in mind that this is not only a numbers game; it is about peoples and families. If the regional race composition is achieved, the national demographic ratio will also be automatically accomplished and without the aggravation caused by the disruption of family life.
It is accepted that members employed in the infrastructure of a unit, in other words, the base support personnel, as opposed to the members performing the core function of the unit with their immediate operational logistical support personnel, may be declared area bound. However, it should also be pointed out that the policy should remain that a soldier should be willing, with cheerful devotion, to serve wherever the SANDF needs and sends him/her.
Despite all the above, the SANDF should ensure that the process has integrity. A significant majority of members are of the opinion that it does not.
3.2.14 Command and control re-construction
Many teething problems with the disappearance of the territorial command HQ’s and the institution of General Support Bases (GSB's) are still to be solved. In some cases the Committee found that the territorial command HQ had almost ceased to exist, having been replaced by a "closing-down-HQ", while the GSB taking over some of its functions, was not yet fully operational. This is typical of a period of radical change with the consequential administrative mishaps, such as lack of feedback and members receiving instructions and closing dates for staffing applications, too late.
One such problem is that the GSB which consists of logistic supporting service elements is in some regions now ranked higher (and given coordinating tasks), than the units in the region performing the primary main tasks of the branch of service that they are supposed to support. This phenomenon tends to confuse the normal channels of command.
3.2.15 Effects of re-structuring in process
Certain unit personnel matters, such as payment of Subsistence and Transport Allowances (S&T), are send to Pretoria. If an S&T claim has a minor mistake, the documentation has to be returned from Pretoria to the unit, starting the process all over again, causing long delays to the frustration of the members involved. In this regard it should be noted that documentation is sent to Pretoria by courier mail if funds permit. In practice, use is often made of transport that is available on an ad hoc basis.
This system is not entirely new, but nevertheless what also creates confusion and frustration, is the problem that a number of units located in the same base, each having different higher HQ’s in different places, receive differing and clashing orders. In addition, each unit in the base falls under a number of different higher HQ’s for different functions. This tends to complicate matters even further. For example, Group 10 resorts under the Infantry Formation HQ in Pretoria for training, but under the Regional Task Force East HQ in Durban for operations. This is the same all over the country.
All units who report to a joint task force HQ for operational purposes, fall under other HQ’s in Pretoria in respect of other functions. For example, infantry units under the Infantry Formation, GSB’s under the Log Formation and so on. This is not an unknown concept, but a change that members will have to get used to and "make work". At the moment, it still gives rise to a variety of problems.
By way of example, the following diagram illustrates the above description:
RJTFE – Regional Joint Task Force East
3.3 HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
The factors that are mentioned below, impact on morale and cohesion between and among members. Some of these factors, however vague, were aimed at both the entire institution and commanding officers. These allegations contained genuine or perceived irregularities. Some of the allegations might have been committed willfully or were forced by circumstances.
Members from the ex-non-statutory forces feel highly aggrieved about the process they underwent during integration. Those who talked on this issue, felt that they have been under-ranked. Some members complained that their own officers of the non-statutory forces did not push them for higher ranks, but this was in turn denied. However, the majority of witnesses angrily complained that promises were made to them that were never honored.
They claimed that, during the integration phase in 1994, they were promised that after they had completed a) certain qualifying courses and b) had served in a certain rank for a specified period, they would be promoted.
From here the story splits into two: Firstly, some said they did the courses and served the specified period, but were not promoted. Secondly, some said they were nominated for the prescribed courses, but never did them and were subsequently not promoted. This category comprises the more unfortunate group of members, because it is understandable that candidates are selected according to certain criteria and that some would not make it.
It would seem that the members did not want to accept that there are many prescriptions that must be satisfied, before one can be promoted. It was only at a later stage that they learned that, in order to be promoted, there must be a vacant, authorised post available.
Many of the candidates relate that during integration and afterwards during bridging- and still later during functional training, they requested to be nominated for courses. But the staff at the particular training institutions, who conducted their training, responded that their business started and ended with training, they were not involved with career planning. Therefore they did not have the responsibility or the authority to recommend students for courses. They advised the potential candidates to lodge their applications as soon as they arrived at their mother units.
This they did and some of them were in fact recommended for the courses by their unit commanding officers. By now, a lot of time had however elapsed and in addition, those not accepted for a course at the first application were told they would be on the waiting list for the next course.
Finally, when the next course was eventually in the offing, they were informed that they were then too old for that particular (infantry) course. To the affected members, the waiting period was unacceptably long. For some, this meant frustration, for others, despair. Most complainants persist in blaming their commanding officers for their misfortune that they perceive to be biased. They are not interested in or informed of the bigger picture and policies of distant higher HQ’s.
Since nominated people do not have equal access to courses, there are many accusations such as, whites are favoured, coloureds are favoured, MK are, APLA, former SADF and so on. This is a source of great frustration. (On nomination for courses, see Appendix A for a typical story)
It is recommended that once-off adjustments be launched for "integratees" to catch up with qualifying courses they missed. The same applies for members of the ex-auxiliary services and to these should be added a scheme to revise and adjust rankings of integratees who claim that it was in some cases improperly done, in order to settle the issue once and for all.
* General Overview
Perhaps the foremost factor affecting morale and for which there is consensus among all members irrespective of rank, is staffing. The implementation has now been in progress for a number of years. Applications run into hundreds of thousands. There are no personal interviews and people are selected on the basis of their applications. Staffing is done in phases. After every phase, members who were not successful, suffer anxiety all over again
It is significant that it sometimes happened that when witnesses applied to address the Committee in a group, they were all "non-staffed" members and for these, their request was for the Committee to assist them to get staffed. They were uncertain if they would ever get staffed and felt insecure, even desperate, at the thought that they might not. The non-staffed members themselves stated that their morale is much lower than the others. This point was also stressed by senior officials, some of whom had not yet been staffed.
Written representations were usually titled "The Staffing Process" and the commanding officer was often blamed. This might have been valid since no procedure is completely invulnerable to manipulation, albeit subtle. In addition, commanding officers tend to recommend for appointment, people they know.
Staffing is a serious problem manifesting itself in many other forms. For example, a lot of members would start complaining about issues such as that they do not get nominated and accepted for courses, do not get promotion and in the end it appears that they have not been staffed. In reality, preference is given to incumbents rather than the supernumeraries and people who are not staffed.
However, such insecurities tend to be a prevalent culture within the SANDF. Staffing is also seen by members as an area where scores are settled, based on seniority and power play. Common are statements such as, "You will never get staffed for as long as I am in the SANDF" or "I will help you get out of the SANDF". One OC is alleged to have said to members, who have signed up to see the Committee, "I can see I have staffed the wrong people".
However, considering the issue in greater depth, what is lacking are Plans and Orders for their implementation – plans according to which the goal of representation and the problem of the oversupply of personnel will be solved. Ideally the plan should be made known to all concerned, in order to deal with the insecurity.
* The Staffing Process and Affirmative Action
The Staffing Process is also involved with affirmative action and the achieving of race- and gender representivity goals with the accompanying "fast-tracking". This goal will not be achieved through the process alone, merely by keeping representation in mind when applying it. In fact, this leads to ad hoc staffing, promotions and appointments, causing confusion and friction.
Once again, what seems to be lacking is planning and decision-making, inter alia, making provision for:
(a) identifying posts;
(b) identifying the candidates earmarked for those posts; and
(c) their career planning, training (and intermediary postings for gaining experience) and fast-tracking paths.
It should not be said "fast tracking will apply" – instructions on how it should be achieved, must be issued. As it stands at the moment, there are loose ends. At some stage of the human resources planning cycle, one comes to identifying the personnel in need of training. This is where career planning comes in and this is where affirmative action fast tracking should be addressed until a plan is concluded. This should be an ongoing process, until the goals are achieved.
If this had been done, which is possible, the Committee did not come across it or it was not applied.
* Staffing and PV’s, PF’s and PE’s
A major problem is that there are many members, including privates, who have long-term expectations and short-term contracts. Some PV-privates complained that they all do the same work, irrespective of the period of the contracts, but that the PV’s cannot buy things on hire purchase, such as a motorcar. Most of the non-staffed members are found amongst the short term- and medium term contracted members.
3.3.3 Downsizing : Strategy and Best Practice
Streamlining or downsizing of necessity, implies that people will have to leave the organisation. What seems to be lacking, is an Exit Plan for such personnel. This is a serious problem and under the present circumstances of national unemployment, it needs special attention. Either the downsizing should be revised to accommodate all or a plan to prepare excess personnel for alternative jobs and assisting them to get employed, should be made. Should the problem persist for much longer, it could even become dangerous. It should seriously be considered to augment the Service Corps, giving it this assignment.
On the face of it, the downsizing strategy of the DoD is projected to be focusing on organisational design. This is partially true, to the extent that work has been re-organised into levels and units and new structures have been proposed. However, in practice, the overall strategy for achieving new force design, is that of workforce reduction. Members are to be laid off within a relatively short time and it is hoped that benefits will be realised, albeit in the short term. As a result of this short term view, the SANDF has not geared itself for long term adaptability. How does it intend to adapt to its changing environment? For example, the Committee expects that the current much talked-about defence procurement contract will have a big impact on the shape of the organisation in future. However, throughout all high level briefings, no reference was made to this contract, suggesting that the SANDF might, due to oversight, miss out on some of the opportunities that this contract may offer or it may find itself organisationally unprepared to respond to the challenges, that this contract is likely to present.
The DoD implemented the work force reduction strategy, partly by means of the VSP’s. In addition, it is hoped that numbers will be reduced through attrition, early retirement and other forms of lay-offs. What is abundantly clear, is that the downsizing strategy is not being controlled. It is self-regulating.
As a result of the VSP’s, the DoD lost some of its best professional soldiers. In fact, it is known that the VSP was biased in favour of the experienced and the highly qualified. At the lower end, where this mechanism could not be advantageous, members are not using it as an alternative. Consequently, the system is clogged and exacerbated by the integration process. The result is that the lower category of members see themselves as victims, because it is from their ranks where administrative- and court martial dismissals are not only concentrated, but prevalent. Other strategies such as outplacements and transfers seem to be on hold.
The workforce reduction strategy is perhaps not the best option, because it increases uncertainty. Firstly, management cannot prioritise who is going to apply for retrenchment. On the other hand, members do not know who among them are going to be discontinued. Equally, it is not easy to determine what skills and institutional memory are going to be lost. Thus, the main weakness of the workforce reduction strategy, is that it does not allow for prioritization.
The DoD has unwittingly lost the members it did not intend to lose and it has seen its funding and other resources dwindle. As a result, this has had negative impact on the organisation in several ways. Some of these negative attributes are discussed in turn. Due to the chosen down sizing strategy, the organisation has had to centralise and there is less power sharing. Accountability is reduced, as fingers always point elsewhere, including Headquarters.
Also prevalent in the SANDF, is a short-term crisis mentality. Long-term planning in the human resource environment is not apparent. An example is a lack of an exit strategy as well as efforts to study the long-term impact of the defence procurement contract. The commanding officers are less tolerant and prefer not to be innovative, because they feel that they cannot afford to make mistakes. Discretions such as releasing transport, are hardly exercised and regulations are strictly adhered to. The morale has decreased and in many areas a "mean mood" is prevalent throughout. The atmosphere is politicised and there is general loss of trust. Policy directives are given without consideration to reality on the ground. Examples are stoppages of detachments, transportation, promotions and accommodation (Particularly for female members).
Currently, it would seem as if the DoD is approaching downsizing reactively and as a threat. It is motivated by impending crisis, such as budgetary constraints and the loss of other resources. Downsizing is seen as a program and a responsibility of top management. Further, it is characterised by conservatism and reducing numbers is the first consideration.
The DoD’s literature often refers to organisational design as part of its rationalisation strategy. A more formal way of perhaps expressing the same strategy, is called organisation redesign strategy. The primary focus of this strategy is seen to cut out work and not workers. This strategy is perhaps not appropriate for the SANDF, because it often consists of eliminating functions and hierarchical levels. Such a strategy cannot be implemented rapidly and is seen as a medium-term strategy. It requires that a thorough analysis of the organisation, including areas to be redesigned or consolidated.
A more desirable approach, preferred by government, is a systemic one. This focuses on systems, culture, attitudes and value systems of the members. This approach is less threatening, because it sees downsizing as a way of life or an on-going process. The systemic approach simplifies the entire organisation and its processes. This strategy takes a long-term perspective.
The Committee could not determine the best practice, mainly due to lack the strategy being followed and a lack of strong planning. AS part of best downsizing is seen as a way of life and is the responsibility of every member. It is seen as an opportunity to improve the organisation and is therefore approached proactively. It is not a threat. It is seen as an opportunity to do things differently, whilst calling for innovation and continuous improvement. Human resources are seen as a vital part in the process and are defined thus. Their effective management is a priority. Best practice include multiple downsizing strategies, calls for consistency in terms of organisational culture, reflects active, aggressive and accessible leadership, focuses on process improvement, as well as marketing of successes.
The reality on the ground, gives an impression that the DOD is neither in a transformation mode, nor mood. There are no buzz-words, such as "Batho Pele", "gender equity" and so on. Officers are confused about what attitude to adopt towards the members. Where do they draw the line between soldiering and humanism particularly when dealing with people of colour?
3.3.4 Geographically displaced and organisationally dislocated personnel
Geographically displaced members are those units and members who have been moved from their home regions or previous bases to other areas and locations.
Displacing members from their home and family regions causes a multitude of problems. This initially happened after integration, ranking and training.
It was almost an everyday occurrence for witnesses to complain about various issues, but most ended up by saying "My real problem is that I want the Committee to assist me to request the Minister to transfer me to my region of origin or send me there on detached duty".
A great many members presently in places like Gauteng, Northern-, Northwest- and the Northern Cape Province have obligations and strong family ties in the Eastern Cape where they originate from. Such members from the Eastern Cape, wanted to go back there on periods of detached duty or to take care of family problems, but this mechanism had been placed on hold, probably because it’s unproductive and costly. Other cases were Zulus and Asians with financial, social and moral ties in KwaZulu-Natal. The same goes for coloureds wanting to go back to the Western Cape.
A member from Mpumalanga had the problem that his family was in King Williams Town, his teacher wife not being able to secure a job in Mpumalanga. He applied for a post in the Eastern Cape and received a response that there was no vacant post available. He was not satisfied with the answer, because, he said, his friend told him there were posts.
Another soldier said he had a problem, being from one region, whilst now being stationed at another. He is entitled to medical benefits and receives them, but to arrange for his dependants in the faraway place in his home region, is a problem. He has to physically go there to assist them or otherwise has to work through the channels from his present station via the medical personnel or directly to the main HQ in his home area. From there, the channel goes to the nearest town where there is a military base and from there to the District Surgeon in that remote area. He asked for a transfer to his home region that was recommended by his unit’s Welfare Officer because he also had other problems there. There were family/political tiffs and his father was killed as a result. The police made arrests. A man from the opposing group now goes out with his sister. Somebody hit his mother. His family has a security problem, being threatened. If he were there, he could have assisted them. He also had salary problems.
A soldier at a base in the Free State testified that he was the only child and should be transferred to live with his mother in KwaZulu Natal, who is not well. She is not educated, lives alone and does not know how to draw money from the bank. A person from the territorial command HQ in Durban used to assist her. He says the army does not take into account one’s personal circumstances. He pays lobola to a woman whom helps looking after his mother, but it is not satisfactory.
Organisationally dislocated members are individuals or sections who are detached from their mother unit and attached to another organisation where they perform their duties. They do not form an integral, organic part of the latter and work for and at the location of the new unit, as if it were a client. In some cases they are merely placed there for administrative convenience and the host commanding officer has little or no responsibility for their career management, although often being blamed for neglecting them.
Their original functional head and commanding officer that is actually responsible for their career planning, usually finds him/herself far away at another HQ. This commanding officer exercises command and control over them and monitors them by means of remote communication and visits.
A Naval member in the Protection Service claimed that she did not feel as if she is part of the Navy, since they were providing protection to a client (a unit), which might just as well have been provided by some other security organisation.
In the Army, by way of illustration, these members are normally technicians or communication operators, but the problem becomes serious when a member finds himself in a general post, i.e. a post which could be filled by someone from any of the branches of the service. The channel of command for such a person’s career management is also blurred. Witnesses have expressed confusion over whom the person is that has the last say over their careers.
A military band was moved from Venda, where its members had proper facilities, to Pietersburg with inadequate facilities. For administrative purposes, they fell under an engineer regiment and their tasking was then informally done by the group HQ, whilst their functional (music) head was in Gauteng. Such people will have problems and can easily become neglected.
3.3.5 Equity issues
There are complaints about double standards in the SANDF, in that there is a "two-chance- policy" in respect of successfully completing the training courses, for people from non-statutory forces. It was cautioned that in future, people are likely to be passed to avoid inquiries and that even those people who do not deserve to pass, are likely to be passed.
It was further indicated that it has become tradition that, when whites commit a mistake, a blind eye is turned, whereas blacks are prosecuted and persecuted at the slightest misdemeanour.
3.3.6 Ranking and Qualifications
A member complained that, when he entered the SANDF, he came in as a qualified artisan and the rule at the time of his appointment was that, if you were a qualified artisan coming in, you would be appointed to the rank of sergeant. This was in the old dispensation. This did however, not happen in his case. He has been fighting the classification ever since. People have tried to assist him, but no-one seems to take the matter any further. He is still aggrieved. He is still fighting. He is still wishing to get a definitive feedback, which should indicate how this matter will be put to rest. If policy has changed, it must be made known.
3.3.7 Regimental Funds
The issue of regimental funds at closing bases has been raised. It would seem as if there is no method according to which these funds are closed down as the base is closed. We did receive various complaints from members on this issue. Some members, at a closing engineering unit, alleged that extra items were bought with regimental funds and were then auctioned to white members.
The issue of regimental funds is even broader and spills over into other forms of deductions. There are deductions, which members do not understand and feel are unfair. "Salute" magazine deductions are seen to be unfair and done without prior consultation. The members do not know their rights on many issues and as a result, it is easy to take advantage of them. Most of those who complained about the salary deductions for regimental funds, did not seem to know that such deductions are voluntary. The same went for the magazine "Salute". They all seem to believe that these deductions are mandatory. For those who want to have them cancelled, they do not get help to do so. At one GSB, members voted to eliminate regimental fund deductions. Where regimental funds are still deducted, members complain about not being represented on management committees that control such funds. There seems to be no clear guidelines as to how to dispose of these funds when bases close down.
The Committee recommends that all aspects pertaining to the institution, management of and control over regimental funds be taken under review, in order to determine whether such aspects are user friendly, equitable and understandable.
3.3.8 Reserve Forces
Reserve forces deployed ostensibly for area protection, alleged that they are utilised more to look after the cattle of the farmers in that area, as opposed to their responsibility of doing area protection. They allege that they are not issued with military identity documents that identify them as military personnel. The process has become frustrating to the members as they lack legitimacy and have become a laughing-stock.
There are concerns about the call-ups for these members. There are claims that whites are called up more frequently for service than blacks. It is said that whites are called-up for uninterrupted periods of six months, whereas with blacks, it will be the question of a week or two.
The Committee recommends that the utilisation of the Reserve Force should be investigated with regard to inter alia role and legal status of members so deployed. A possible solution could be to appoint an independent body to do the investigation.
3.3.9 Compensation for Injuries
Compensation for injuries sustained whilst serving as a member of the SANDF, is a source of major complaint. Members complain about injuries sustained during the course of duty and never getting compensation. This tends to demotivate members.
It is however clear that people who have been injured on duty, feel that they deserve financial compensation, despite the fact that they have received medical treatment from the military.
In cases where compensation is deserved, the SANDF refers the matter to the Commissioner for Disability Compensation. From here on, it is difficult to determine whether, if compensation is not paid out, it is due to bad management in the SANDF or bad management on the part of the Commissioner of Disability Compensation. We gathered from a particular case that the SANDF do in fact monitor the activities of the Commissioner, in the sense that the Commissioner sends copies of the correspondence with the member to the SANDF, which would then create the impression that the matter is administratively under control, but what in fact happens is that, the letter from the Commissioner never reaches the individual, so he then gets "administratively lost".
At times people’s hopes are raised erroneously, that they would get compensation, but this never happens. At times they are even told of the amounts they would expect to receive. They are later told that the process takes a long time and that they should be patient. In the meantime, frustration builds up.
We highlight the case of a certain sergeant, who was injured in 1996, when the vehicle in which they were travelling near Bushmans Nek capsized. This led to the member having his kneecap surgically removed. He is healed, but is limping and walking with difficulty. As a result, he has been re-classified to G3/K2 and has been transferred to the QM, although his mustering has not changed. He is wondering when he will get compensation for this injury and also when his mustering will be changed officially to Logistics, so that he can be able to develop professionally.
At 2 Mil Hospital, one member was injured while he was off-duty, but was treated at the hospital, and was given an electric wheelchair. He is a quadriplegic case. The wife has employed a care giver and pays for him/her. After years, he has not yet received any compensation nor a disability grant of any kind. He is not getting a satisfactory service form his lawyers.
It is recommended that the issue of members to whom disability benefits are due, be reviewed with the objective of resolving it once and for all. It is likely that if left unresolved, the matter may result in litigation against the DoD.
Many members of all ranks complained of serious lack of suitable single- and married living quarters, poor workplace conditions, bad ablution facilities and lack of military and public transport. This caused them to suffer low morale and to feel uncaringly neglected. Most, if not all of them, blamed the commanding officer.
Every unit had its own peculiar circumstances, but there are a number of bases with common backgrounds related hereunder.
According to decisions made at higher HQ during the planning of transformation/reconstruction, there were numerous cases of HQ’s, formations, units and bases that had to be closed down or amalgamated with others, to form new ones.
This also meant moving large numbers of personnel, with or without families, to other locations. Before continuing, it must be borne in mind that these decisions and the start of their implementation, were probably made before the effect of future budget-cuts were known.
In many situations, this resulted in firstly, geographically separating soldier and spouse or separating soldiers, married or single, far away from their traditional family regions and out of reach for weekend visits, which they find unacceptable.
Secondly, many troops now found themselves in "new" accommodation far worse than they had before, over-populated and with totally inadequate ablution facilities, whilst their fellow soldiers elsewhere, were much better off paying the same rental rates.
Thirdly, due to the lack of state housing or other adequate board and lodging near the base to which they were relocated, they have to stay at places far away from work – with very limited public transport available, repeatedly causing AWOL or late arrival at work.
In short, many members find themselves caught up in a miserable state of affairs and no way of mere good communication and explanation would satisfy them. Often race becomes part of the issue. Under the circumstances, many of them have the perception that these conditions have been willfully engineered with the aim to degrade them.
The commanding officer, the person responsible for the welfare of the members, the one on the ground and "father" of the battalion, has to listen to the grievances and provide solutions. He has however not been empowered and enabled by senior corporate managers to address these issues.
Ineffective communication from the top downwards also causes problems, for example, it was decided at a high level, that certain major bases would be sold and abandoned causing a lot of rumors until eventually the news was reported in the daily papers. Members resented that they had to receive news about such a major move for the first time in the press, whilst they were naturally worried about their future. They had not received the information along the command and communication channels. (The proposed "sale" of certain bases in the Western Cape are a case in point)
A number of commanding officers have been forced by circumstances to act irregularly. Since the Department of Public Works, probably due to a lack of funds, could not resolve the issue, they used non-public (regimental) funds to build toilets and contrary to policy, authorised duty buses between home and work. Evidence was given to the effect that the budget did not provide for the maintenance of buildings, including married quarters. Regimental sergeant majors tried to establish funds for repair and maintenance, but members refused to contribute. It caused dissention and frustration.
The Committee found totally unacceptable living conditions in the military bases at Ellisras and in certain bases in Group 27, as well as Potchefstroom. It urges the DoD to, as a matter of urgency, investigate these conditions and to initiate remedial steps.
Strategic high-level intervention is essential. This is a situation that rolls on from day to day without relief, while budget years come and go.
3.3.11 Former auxiliary service members
This service was created during the former dispensation, at a time of widespread unemployment to provide jobs for general unskilled, non-career minded workers, with low scholastic qualifications, at nominal basic salaries. Their rank structure consisted of only a few levels. The organisation was disbanded and its members were absorbed in the SANDF. They now developed career aspirations, but were told that they had to improve their academic standards, which many of them did through private study under very difficult conditions. Their expectations escalated. From here onwards, however, most of them followed the same path as some "integratees". They were told to do the prescribed qualifying courses before they could get promotion and salary increases.
Then the problems started: Their applications for the courses, recommended by their commanding officers, were unsuccessful, because of age restrictions or, as some alleged, they were told that integratees received priority for course vacancies.
The SANDF is well aware of the problem, but apparently unable to solve it. The disbanding of the old auxiliary service and the integrating of its members into the SANDF, was an unforced change that came at a bad time, in addition to all the other changes.
The decision was probably made before future budget cuts were made known. Whatever the case, a special once-off-scheme, including the waiving of the age restrictions, pertaining to courses, is recommended to alleviate the backlog. The same recommendation is made in respect of other integratees. This is a story of human tragedy.
If some such plan is not made, the SANDF will have to live with genuine allegations of starting something that they were unable to complete, causing hardship in the process. A number of commanding officers of training units stated that they basically had the resources either to present more courses or accept more students per course. Whatever the circumstances, this recommendation will essentially imply additional funding. In this regard, the SANDF however faces a special problem requiring a special solution.
3.3.12 "Professional Career Privates"
A defence force more often than not, has a system whereby single privates are employed on short-term contract at a relatively low basic salary. The soldier is trained, he gives his service and leaves when his contract expires, unless he is selected for further training, promotion and an extended or longer term contract if he/she wishes to do so.
Currently there are many privates and people of low rank, who have served many years in the same rank at basically the same salary and are still doing so. They are now well over the age of 30 with a wife and children. They are sick and tired of re-training, bored and frustrated. (Especially those in the fighting branches such as the Infantry)
If this is the preferred system, regulations will have to be adapted accordingly or other avenues of employment, including corps transfers, will have to be found.
Many of the interviewees would probably not have chosen to embark on soldiering as a career. They are there by force of circumstance. Once again there is nothing wrong with it, but then they also have to abide by the rules of the game. There is also a category of members, mainly integratees, who are well-suited for a military career and who have accepted certain posts. The truth however, is that they accepted posts which they did not favour at all. They reasoned, quite understandably, that once they are staffed and thus part of the organisation, they could always change to a different mustering at a later stage. This however never materialised and is now causing intense frustration. Some of these members find themselves in the Naval Protection Services. The Navy is aware of this problem and is in the process of finding solutions.
A number of witnesses claim that they were not given clear explanations of what the various musterings entail. They therefore could not make well-deliberated selections and landed up in posts, surprised with their job descriptions. What may be needed, is a once-off wide-ranging scheme for members to be given the opportunity once and for all, to express their choice of mustering, followed by aptitude tests. This would however be a massive effort, time consuming and costly.
It must be borne in mind that not all the members who requested a hearing at the Committee were people with complaints. Many complainants had good solid cases supported by substantiating documents, whilst others also came forth with positive and constructive suggestions.
3.3.13 Inter-departmental Transfers
Unemployment is a national problem and every effort should be made to productively accommodate members of the civil service, including the DoD, rather than summarily retrenching people. The Committee has found that, while it is already difficult in the SANDF internally, due to down-sizing, to effect inter-branch and -corps transfers for this purpose, as against whites, there are very few known cases of blacks benefiting from inter-departmental transfers. In Simons Town, we were given a long list of whites only benefiting form transfers.
In this regard the following should be noted: It has become routine for the SANDF to employ and deploy members on fighting crime in support of the SAPS, because of the latter’s shortage of human resources. This practice is not only accepted, it is regarded as essential. It becomes a different matter if this occurs on a daily basis. The current supernumerary situation existing in the SANDF, may be addressed by considering the inter-departmental transfer of affected members to the SAPS and in so-doing, alleviating the latter department’s acute human resource shortage. This proposed course of action might justify further in-depth study.
3.3.14 Women in the Defence Force
The number of women in the Defence Force is increasing. However, there is no visible effort to ensure that they progress and find a home in the SANDF. The Navy and Air Force appear to be leading the field in this regard. The Air Force has women pilots and the Committee was informed that female fighter pilots are being trained. The Army scores high on the number of women, but very low on their empowerment. The women in the Army complained of being given very shoddy treatment. At times they are sent to perform guard duties alone at night or to have one woman guarding a post all night, including weekends with a bunch of men. All these women, at whatever base, reported not feeling safe under such circumstances. They also indicated that they do this work under trying circumstances, because very often they will do guard duty at night and are expected to report for duty the following morning, without a rest. Sometimes they go for 72 hours without a rest.
Accommodating women remains a problem, but it would seem as if it is not treated with any urgency. This issue needs to be attended to urgently.
Another issue placing women at a disadvantage in the SANDF, is that they are not in the command structures. This is an issue that requires urgent attention. Where the Committee did come across women in senior positions, they were very unhappy in that they were sidelined and did not have any responsibilities. The Committee got the impression that their initiative was being deliberately frustrated by their seniors.
Except for a few women in the Air Force and one in the Navy that the Committee came across, we were of the impression that much remains to be done to roll out the carpet for women in the SANDF, particularly those from the former NSF. We take note that there are many women in support services who are civilians and whose appointments date back to the period before integration. These seem to be well-entrenched and most of them work with their husbands in the system.
3.3.15 Merit bonuses
A meaningful number of interviewees proposed that performance bonuses be done away with. Some argued that bonuses should not be allocated to individuals but rather spread over larger numbers, such as a whole section. Others argued that it should be replaced by automatic notch increments.
Bonuses are certainly one of the major causes of suspicion, confusion and friction, not only because they are based on quotas. It is ironic that some argued that they should be completely abolished. What happened in practice, among others, is that members were given high marks, qualifying them for bonuses, but at a later stage in the process commanding officers received information and instructions from higher HQ’s, to the effect that, due to financial constraints, only a lesser number of people could be paid these bonuses. The result was that previous marks had to be lowered. (Documentation to this effect was presented) Many people did not believe their commanding officers and ascribed the issue to discriminatory and preferential treatment.
The Committee recommends that the DoD undertakes an urgent investigation into aspects pertaining to the payment of merit bonuses, in conjunction with the relevant government department.
3.3.16 Exit Plan : Involvement of Service Corps
A lot has been said about the frustration and despair amongst supernumeraries and the absence of a plan for their exit and future. It is a problem not peculiar to the SANDF and is of national interest for which a solution must be found. However, it should be borne in mind that members who have been trained and employed in a pure typical military role, such as infantrymen, artillery gunners and armoured vehicle personnel, would be hard put to find jobs outside, without having been prepared for it.
Serious consideration should be given to arrive at the plan and an organisation to execute and manage it. In this regard, what jumps to mind, is the Service Corps.
The Service Corps made a favourable impression. It has lofty and commendable ideals, is well equipped, with knowledgeable and enthusiastic officers in charge. However, what is ironic, is that their main area of activity at present, is to provide training and facilitation for jobs for ex-members of the non-statutory forces, who are civilians and who prefer not to be incorporated into the new SANDF. In fact, it is operating for the sole benefit of civilians, addressing the national problem of unemployment. At the same time, there is no similar project for members in the SANDF, who due to re-structuring, downsizing, and budget cuts, cannot be accommodated in the future authorised structures.
Ideally speaking, there should be a national plan, with one part of it being the plan for supernumeraries in the SANDF. Irrespective of whether there is a national plan or not, the Service Corps, that is already active in this field, should be re-organised and empowered to provide an orientation-, facilitation-, preparation-, training- and job seeking scheme for the exit of surplus personnel from the SANDF.
Variations of this suggestion have been implemented elsewhere in the international military world. The Service Corps must be re-enforced in order to perform this function and this should be done in conjunction with other departments, NGO’s and the Private Sector. Once again, extra funding will have to be voted for this purpose. It is known that the SANDF (the Service Corps) had been involved in discussions with other departments. The results are not known.
The SANDF has, as one of its objectives, the desire to reduce the number of its members. Pressure to do so, is mounting, considering that there are many members who cannot get promoted, given the pyramid structure of the organisation. It is therefore important to develop an exit plan to afford members an opportunity to leave the force, at the appropriate time. The PV system was developed for the privates who must serve a short time. The next is that of the PF group serving a medium term, who must also leave to accommodate the remainder in the pyramid structure. The PE is for those who will continue for a long time, making the military their careers.
What has happened, is that the base line members had their contracts extended many times, so that they are older and are probably married with families, not leaving the SANDF, because the policy is that, any member who wishes to continue, must be given an extended contract, but this has also caused social as well as training problems, all related to age.
It was very clear that members who appeared before the Committee, especially those with PV and PF and some at a PE level, did not really understand what their entitlements were, in terms of training and progression. The members in the PV, for example, have an expectation that they are in permanent employ and they were looking forward to the time when they will be converted to PF and eventually to PE. It therefore becomes very important that, in a very transparent way, the benefits related to these people and the intentions of the DoD, be made visible so as to assist in managing the expectations of the members concerned.
3.3.17 Remuneration and allowances of technical personnel
Technical personnel had to undergo longer periods of technical training than other members, consequently their military rank promotion was much slower. To compensate however, their remuneration was not exclusively coupled to rank and they received salaries and allowances comparing favourably with non-artisans of higher rank.
Technical allowances have now been terminated, causing many problems. It is the Committee’s opinion that the issue should be reviewed. This recommendation is also done in view of the serious "brain-drain" of technicians from the SANDF. Many Air Force members testified in this regard.
3.3.18 Lengthy assignments
The Committee received complaints from people ranging from Oudtshoorn, Potchefstroom, Pietersburg, Bloemfontein and some areas in Gauteng that there are members, especially white officials, who tend to be deployed in the same place for a long time. Members who complained, indicate that some members get to know the place so well due to being there for a long time, that they came to think that they "own the place". Very often members think that this could be one of the causes of the problems experienced at many units.
It is generally said that a soldier should go where he is needed the most. The Committee accepts this position. However, it would seem as if there is little or no equal treatment when people are to be moved around. High-ranking officials seem to have their preferences honoured while low ranking troops find it very difficult.
In some areas, such as Thohoyandou and the Western Cape low ranking officials do find themselves area bound. The problem that arises is that these area bound soldiers tend to see those from outside as strangers and they tend to isolate them.
3.4 INSTITUTIONAL CULTURE
Racism undoubtedly does exist in the SANDF. It manifests itself in many ways:
* Outright abusive language based on cultural origin;
* Failure to empower members, as well as active attempts to reduce their job responsibilities;
* Subjecting members to assaults and intimidating them, to ensure that they do not report the cases to the police;
* Excluding members from the life and activities of the unit by not letting them participate in decision processes (including expenditures on Regimental Funds);
* Seemingly acting in an indifferent and disinterested manner where grievances of the black troops are concerned;
* Summarily condemning black members and not giving them a second chance, even on minor infractions;
* Not giving black members the benefit of a doubt and always saying that they are "taking a chance" when they try to explain their predicaments;
* Abusing rank and using it as a mask to give orders that are not fully understood or are regarded as irregular by a member; and
* Highlighting small infractions and making them look big.
As many black witnesses stated: "If you have black and white, you will have racism, and if you have black and black of different cultures, you’ll have problems".
The situation is however serious and solutions to alleviate it, should be sought as a matter of urgency. Racism is not an aspect in isolation. It is interwoven with many aspects, either in the form of cause or effect.
Proven incidents of racism, as a result of personal intent, must be dealt with promptly, severely and to the full extent of the law.
It is important to bear in mind that many factors of a non-racial nature, do in fact create situations provoking racial friction, where it would otherwise not have existed. The important point is not to dwell on whether it exists or if it is bad. What is important, is to know: Is racism more prevalent or acute in the military than in the South African society at large? Is it worse than in other state departments? What is its extent and what is its effect on the military’s morale and combat readiness? And most important of all – what can and should be done about it?
The findings concerning patterns and tendencies by the Committee, should assist the commander responsible, for finding answers to the problem. These were inter alia outlined in the Committee’s Interim Report.
Blatant and proven acts or omissions by individuals of any cultural grouping with racist intent, are the easiest with which to deal and guilty individuals should be subjected to the full impact of the disciplinary system.
However, many cases came to the attention of the Committee where it was not easy to establish whether incidences were motivated by racist intent or whether racism was caused or stimulated by other factors. Anyone trying to find a solution to the problem, should not look at the symptoms, but rather objectively attempt to find the causes. The fact that it exists, no longer needs to be proved and substantiated, but it is also a fact that the circumstances in the SANDF, whether brought about by ineffective management or by force of circumstance, tend to create fertile soil that fuel issues of race.
Racism : Privates, Lance Corporals and Corporals
The SANDF, like other defence forces, is a people-intensive organisation. And especially in the SA Army, the privates, lance corporals and corporals, in terms of numbers, form the bulk of the organisation. Following integration and the end of conscription, these members are, for all practical purposes, all black. Consequently the Committee did not necessarily come across racism within this category, i.e. between people of the same rank grouping.
Friction did however arise between civilian youngsters (recruits) who directly joined the SANDF during the early/middle 1990’s and integratees from the NSF’s. Some of the recruits did their training, got staffed and got ranks, while some of the older integratees did not get staffed and promoted. The older privates complained about the youngsters becoming their seniors, while the young corporals and lieutenants complained that they were being intimidated by the privates. However, most of them being black, the friction was not of a racial nature.
Racism and top management
To jump from privates to the other end of the scale: Only a small number of members of the top structure, where blacks are prominent in many key positions, appeared before the Committee. Very few issues of a racial nature between members of this category were mentioned. However, in a broader sense, this group also experiences racism. Many ranking blacks suffer exclusion and are given few responsibilities in the work place. Some are subjected to social exclusion in an environment where whites are in the majority.
At the RJTF North, all-important and leading posts are manned by white officers. The few blacks are posted in lower and insignificant posts, where they cannot take important decisions. The HQ of RJTF has four black officers in high-ranking posts. There are two majors, one Lt. Colonel and one Brigadier General. In terms of whites, there are 5x Majors, 7x Lt. Colonels, 5x Colonels and one Major General. At Group 14, the OC is black, but the management structure is white. Likewise, the intelligence section is dominated by whites. Blacks are found in the occupational health section. The management of 7SAI is top white. This includes the OC, The 2IC and Commanders of Companies. The exceptions are Echo Company which is under a black and the RSM. Another black is acting in Alpha Company. These are just examples of what is otherwise a common phenomena.
Racism and the middle order
The bulk of the problems lie in the structures between the top management and the privates, more specifically at unit level, where many commanders are white and the troops are black. The troops, amongst others, suffer all the consequences of issues such as staffing, promotion, merit bonuses, courses, placement, regional transfers, organisational re-mustering, dependants from traditional marriages, attendance of funerals and so on. It will be noted that most of these aspects are matters of policy, rules and regulations over which the commanding officers have little control, but they have to bear the brunt and provide solutions and answers on behalf of themselves and the whole of the DoD.
It is in this scenario where one also should bear in mind the impact of discipline and the differences in military cultures.
The "clashes" in this case are between juniors of one culture and seniors of another. It is therefore predictable that dissent should evolve into racial issues. However, the difference in military cultures is undoubtedly a major cause of friction.
Even so and whether some of the complaints are genuine or perceived, the main source of discontent is to be staffed or not to be staffed, to have a job or not to have a job. The uncertainty and insecurity are frustrating.
Racism and morale
These two factors go hand-in-hand. Racism will affect morale and bad morale will be conducive to racism. A military force, actively performing its primary task, tends to enhance high morale, causing people to rally around a common objective, whilst tending to unite.
When a force is involved in operations, it is performing its primary task (core business). In this scenario, the members of the force are now doing what they have been taught and for which they have been prepared with much grinding and over a long period. This tends to lift morale, for example, the Committee found it noticeable that the mere possibility of troops going to the DRC, enthused those who were/are earmarked for this operation.
After the cessation of hostilities, morale becomes vulnerable. The troops are not performing their ultimate job anymore and some are demobilised. The real primary task has fallen away and the new primary task now reverts to preparing (training) to do its primary task somewhere in the future.
Training is good. Retraining is good. But re-retraining becomes a bore and tends to cause idleness. Under these circumstances, a large supernumerary element that has to be kept constructively busy in non-substantive appointments, causes warning lights to flicker.
Before operations, teams and allegiances are formed. At the cessation of hostilities, allegiances break up and demobilisation takes effect. In the SA scenario, both friend and foe ceased doing their primary tasks and were integrated. This in itself, is not conducive to high morale.
Other red lights affecting morale in the military are all related to proper communication: Misinformation, rumours and not knowing what’s going to happen to you. Unfortunately the non-staffed members appear to be bearing the brunt in this regard.
3.4.2 Perspectives pertaining to diversity and their impact on the realisation of a common military culture
Introduction and Examples
There were many members who raised very well-founded and substantiated personal problems, reasonably presented and deserving of sympathy and correction.
Many privates and other members of lower rank also came forth with sensible and reasonable suggestions. They argued that there is too much talk of ex-statutory and ex-non-statutory forces. They are all now in the SANDF and should be treated as such. They therefore suggest that the force numbers should be changed so as not to make it easily identifiable who is who. For example, the suffixes "PV", "PF" and "PE": as well as numbers starting with "94" and "96" which indicate integratees. Whether this is administratively possible is another matter, but it needs serious consideration. An African ex-SADF member wanted his number also to start with "94" so as not to be identified.
In regard to the problem of non-staffed members: The commanding officers tell them not to be worried and not to think that there is no place for them in the SANDF and to just carry on with their duties. He has no other option. The soldiers, however, are not ignorant and they say the commanding officer is lying, many of them will not get posts.
It often happened that a witness would give his testimony and repeatedly mention the commanding officer, almost as if the intermediate commanders such as sergeants, lieutenants and majors do not exist. Indeed, in one particular base, a white lieutenant pointed out that members within their rank category are not made part of the management of the base. Communication with the troops tends to by-pass them, coming straight from the colonel to the troops. His feeling was that his rank category would provide a good bridge between the senior officers and the troops.
On the other hand, the troops also pointed out that white senior officers club together against black juniors, where grievances are concerned and almost invariably, project the junior as the culprit. To the extent that this clubbing-together exists on both sides of the colour line, it merits serious consideration in order to resolve it as soon as possible. There are many dynamics at play and it is important to find the root cause.
One consideration is that, if a CO had been away, had received a visitor or had attended a conference, it is expected of him to give detailed feedback right down to the ground level or else a suspicion arises that he is withholding information from them.
As can be expected, it was found that former NSF members generally refuse to testify against their comrades. However, on a number of occasions, they did blame generals from former NSF’s for not pushing them for higher ranks during the integration process, not assisting them to get staffed and more often, for not making time to discuss their problems with them and giving them information and explanations. Some go as far as to say that generals should visit units and talk to the troops in the absence of their commanding officer. They say generals do not visit their units or if they do, they do not give them an audience or refuse to answer more than one or two questions. Some say that certain generals have never visited their unit.
This attitude highlights the fact that the SANDF’s communication system is lacking. It is likely that, if the communication system in the SANDF could improve, this form of tension could be managed.
The unit-CO is also resented for not giving, in one particular case corporals, the opportunity to make inputs as to how the unit’s budget should be spent. A soldier said that the SANDF should have deployed engineers in a certain area of the province facing dangerous floods, because that is what they are there for, since they have the equipment and capability. However, they did not and are therefore wasting money. He said the soldiers are the eggs, but the hen does not care about them. Again, this argument highlights the lack of communication. The failure of the system to inform people on how they will be utilized, where, when and whether this will be done differently, compared to the past.
One of the complaints of some troops and low ranking NCO’s, was that they had been staffed in a specific company, platoon or section and mustering such as No 2 on the Light Machine Gun and were then being employed in another. The commanding officers’ explanations were generally something like the following: When a company, for instance, has to be provided for deployment in an area of unrest, such a company, according to instructions, has to consist of a specified number of members in prescribed musterings. With many members being unavailable (away on courses, detached duty, leave, temporarily medically unfit and transfers) they have no option, but to make internal adjustments.
Another supernumerary private said, if he wants to go to another unit, they say "no", but if they want to send him to another unit, they say it is an order. That is unfair. A corporal said they make a simple mistake into a very big thing. In this particular case, he was charged with desertion, resisting arrest, disobeying a lawful command and other offences and was sentenced to imprisonment. He resented being treated as "a criminal". This illustrates the different perceptions of discipline, crime and punishment between people of different ranks and origins.
If a senior gives an order in the imperative military form, juniors have the perception that they are being bullied. They respond accordingly, which in the CO’s perspective, is defiant and challenging. Part of the problem is that these instructions may be given in Afrikaans and some members see Afrikaans as being used to convey negative messages.
There are also incidents where a junior did not accept an explanation of the commanding officer. The explanation may be of a formal regulation that has to be observed, but with which the junior does not agree and then, in protest, refuses to leave the commanding officer’s office. He regards his action as rightful. The commanding officer regards it as intimidation and insubordination.
During an interview with a labour union, one of its members said that former NSF-members had developed a culture of defiance. "It is not good. They are not all angels". One senior person told the Committee he wanted a transfer, since he is being threatened.
In cases where allegations of racial nature and discrimination are made by privates and lower ranks, against the commanding officer and his staff, these may be valid or may have other explanations. For example, such low ranking members often compare their own circumstances to those of much higher-ranking members, in which case rank discrimination does exists. Blacks complain that they are made to work outside even on hot days for the entire day. Whites work indoors. In Potchefstroom, they complain that they work like common laborers for the entire day.
One commanding officer said that they need protection, they find no satisfaction in the job anymore, and are consistently in the firing line.
Supernumeraries have also complained that they are not given the chance to do the job for which they have been trained. Instead, they are made to work outside with a pick and shovel.
Some senior officers said that they do not know anymore what answers they can give the troops.
There are some allegations that senior officials are not generally interested in the contribution of ex-non-statutory members in terms of adding value to the SANDF. During our visit to a large base, one white official indicated that they know all about the Russian doctrine of war and as a result, it was not necessary to find out about it from ex-NSF members.
On the other hand, in an anecdotal situation, one ex-NSF member informed one of the Committee members that the manner in which they are taught about ambushes in the SANDF, they would never escape from an ambush set up by Russian-trained soldiers. However, these points not withstanding, debriefing of all the statutory and non-statutory forces is called for as a prerequisite to forming one army concept.
A certain soldier in Kwazulu Natal had his uniform torn by his superiors. The SANDF took no action, until the member had gone outside the military and reported the matter to the police. This matter was widely reported in the press. In his ruling, the civilian magistrate in sentencing those officers, said that it is "these types of issues that brought about, or could bring about more Tempe’s".
The issue of forums seem not to be working properly, nor delivering what was expected. In most cases, the chairperson of the forum is put at risk by being targeted for negative treatment by seniors. They are often branded as troublemakers and seen to be the cause of problems. Simply put, they are subjected to intimidation.
Most CO’s are of the opinion that grievances come from people whom are either supernumerary or non-staffed. The Committee does not support this position. In general members were concerned about their career incidences, whether they were staffed or not. Staffed people were all in one complaining about merits, abusive language, discrimination, assaults, courses, promotion, transport, attendance to funerals of colleagues and family, job assignments, use of Afrikaans, medals, poor accommodation, AWOL, Court martials, force numbers that identify people by previous forces and thus expossing them to undue prejudice and many others. It is unfortunate that some COs have identified members who come to see the Committee as troublemakers.
It is in such contexts that name calling occurs. Names such as "barrack-room lawyers", "smart Alecs", "wise guys", "moeilikheidmakers" and "sad sacks". It is not something strange. However, in the SANDF, particularly given the young democracy, this should not be encouraged because it is viewed very negatively by the privates. They consider it racist because such name calling is used to chastise or to dismiss a person with the intention to punish.
One CO, when he received us, said, "I know that you will be seeing people on a voluntary basis. But I can tell you now which troublemakers will be coming to see you. He started to enumerate them and he stopped at fourteen. He then gave us a list of such people.
We noted the list and checked it carefully as people came to see us. We spend four days at that base and none of the enumerated troublemakers except three came to see us. We are elaborating on this point because there is a prevalent view that people who came to see the Committee are troublemakers. The Committee does not hold this view. In fact the Committee would be inclined to believe that the quality of most of the people who appeared before it is quite high.
Analysis and Recommendations
A host of cultural aspects are causing great discontent. The accusation is that transformation is not taking place since the SANDF has not become Africanised. It covers a great variety of aspects concerning the SANDF’s acceptance of customary marriages and dependants, weddings, funerals, godparents and communication with ancestors.
For the purposes of this report the issue is not whether one agrees or sympathises with the allegations and one should certainly take it seriously. However, this is not a matter affecting only the SANDF. Its regulations and policies are not and cannot be out of line with the law and those regulations governing the civil service as a whole. The suggestion is therefore that an inter-departmental study be launched to investigate the matter.
There are also different perceptions of technical aspects of discipline, for example, a corporal complained that he was sentenced for being absent from the place of work. His argument is that he went to consult a doctor, which he thought was a valid reason. The rule is that he should have got permission.
Part of the system problem is that there are specific doctors who are recognised by the SANDF and if people go to unrecognised doctors, they do not get a sympathetic ear. It would assist members if they were to be allowed to see doctors of their choice or if the system were to be made more flexible, than it is now, as a matter of policy. If not, allegations that whites have flexible choices and blacks do not, will persist.
The point we are making here is that, despite the military being an authoritarian institution and members accepting it in that manner, the argument of the NSF members is that rules are applied more strictly where they are concerned, compared to where whites are concerned. (At one base, we were informed that white members are allowed to see private doctors of their own choice while blacks were not allowed to do so).
On grievances concerning AWOL commanding officers are told that they must apply this regulation with circumspection. It cannot work. If this regulation is not acceptable or if the period of three days should be extended to something like ten days, a process must be initiated to have the regulation changed.
It should be noted however, that members complain that often this rule is not applied with flexibility. In most cases, members will be reported AWOL despite the fact that they will have reported to their seniors that they might be late arriving. In some cases, they may get permission from a junior officer who might be overruled by a senior. More frustrating though is the fact that once their salaries have been stopped, they take a very long time to activate. The Director of Finance in the DoD informed the Committee that systems are available to activate salaries within a short time. All that is needed is a directive to do so.
The same applies to many of the other aspects that have been mentioned and the relevant regulations are not internal SANDF regulations, they also apply to other state departments. (For example, the regulations covering the recognition and benefits, e.g. medical of the dependants from traditional marriages).
A Cultural Diversity Course is intended to promote racial tolerance and get members involved in change in a positive way. Most people, especially white officials, have a very deem view of the course. Some OC’s have criticised it for focussing too much on the past while others do not appreciate its relevance. Some of the staff at one unit believe that the OC does not like the course and as a result has adopted all kinds of hurdles that make it impossible for people who have taken the course to facilitate it in the unit and elsewhere. Some of the OC’s simply say that they have heard about the course but they do not know what it is all about.
In one unit, the Committee intervened in a situation where the OC did not want to release a member to attend a cultural diversity course. The member was ultimately released. However, she came back with a bad report and was virtually condemned and was told that she is not suitable to be a facilitator. She feels aggrieved and argues that she has been victimised for having asserted herself to be allowed to attend the course. She has been grounded and is appealing to the committee to assist. The Committee has obliged as it feels she has a case.
It is generally believed that there is passive resistance to change. Trust is undermined by people in the personnel and administration sections. It is generally accepted that the people who work in personnel and administration form a very strong link with the past. They are seen to form a strong and impenetrable chain between the units which acts in a prejudicial manner against "outsiders".
It was reported by an Equal Opportunity official, that when black accents are detected on the phone, the phone is dropped. "This usually happens when such a voice is making a request, and in this case, to inquire about the availability of courses and their scheduling" the official said.. This official, who is white, said that when she has intervened on behalf of the blacks, things have worked out. The official went on to say that whites get what they want. The official said further, "If a white is negligent, that it is understood and taken as human, but if a black does the same`, he is said to be lazy and incompetent".
This official from the Equal Opportunity Directorate commented as follows:
"As part of passive resistance, some signals are not delivered in time. The "Buddy system" is also said to be rife and information is not passed on to others. Blacks in positions are told that they are there because they are black (or women). People without access to computers are sent on computer courses. Some blacks are staffed but have no work. This results in frustration and hopelessness. If you assert yourself, you are deemed to be unprofessional and may be charged. Thus, such people are put in a position not to show their competence".
It is a subject comprising a multiple of intricacies and even the presenters will probably agree that there is still room for improvement. One suggestion in this regard submitted for consideration is that the sooner it reaches the stage where orientation and tuition is facilitated in the form of situation-learning-experience, the better.
The Committee recommends that an in-depth audit be conducted into the impact of military-cultural diversity in the current SANDF and that proposals be put forward that will enable the creation and maintenance of a universally accepted military culture for the SANDF.
* A black perspective
It is common cause that ranking ex-NSF members are underutilized. The document: "Policy on Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action", defines under utilisation of an individual's skills and potential as a form of racial discrimination. It may be tempting to attribute this phenomena to overstaffing in terms of the new structures. However, the Committee found that some ranking officers, both commissioned and non-commissioned find themselves in this category. In one unit, we talked to a member who was promoted from corporal to sergeant major. His duty sheet had not yet changed and he was still deployed as a messenger faxing documents, delivering letters and carrying boxes from one office to the other. He has complained to the CO, but to no avail. This scenario repeats itself in many instances and across the spectrum of ranks.
` In another case, signalers doing radio repairs complained that they either work without tools or they are given ones that are not technically appropriate or are outdated. The better ones are given to their white counterparts. The results are that when output is measured, the blacks show low productivity due to their inferior tools. The blacks complained that their tools and equipment are simply inadequate for the tasks they are to carry out.
A black captain serving on the management of an officers club, complained that he has been denied an opportunity to function as an officer. He indicated that his responsibilities have been "shared and channeled to favourites with lower ranks". He adds that as a result, he has to take orders from people of lower rank. He concludes with this observation: "The truth of the matter is that the officers club management authority has a tendency to undermine and frustrate the higher rank by not recognising it".
Issues of discrimination are well covered in the Interim Report. It is not our intention to dwell on them in the Final Report. Some of the following views are typical:
* Attitudes are negative suggesting that transformation is not taking place.
* The troops do not see the contribution of the BMATT people. They feel their role is over and they must go.
* When troops raise issues, they are told that nothing can be done for them because it is the wish of those higher up.
* Foreign troops serving in the SANDF are not loyal to this government.
* People living more than 100 kilometers from the base say they do not qualify for housing.
* It is commonly stated that there are no whites serving in companies or platoons. Whites are said to be given "soft posts".
* Black troops state that, when they go on trips with whites, whites are given cash while they are required to take food packages. They see this as discrimination.
* Whites have easy access to military transport while, even black sergeants do not have easy access and at times they have to walk.
One soldier complained, saying discipline is when you keep your mouth shut and do what they say, then you are good. It is a person’s right to question orders. The senior’s perspective, however, is that unless a command is unlawful, one executes the order first and raises questions later. There is a time and place for discussion and a time for getting the job done.
Many members complained that action had been taken against them for misdemeanors such as leaving the work place or being late or absent without leave. They maintain that where whites are concerned no action is taken.
* A coloured perspective
A coloured NCO, ex-SADF, complained that he could not secure a PE (long-term) contract, presumably because of discrimination. His suspicion was that on paper he was presumed to be white because he has an Afrikaans surname.
* A white perspective
Senior whites also resented the fact that black juniors skipped the channels of communication and either phoned or wrote to friends in high places in the SANDF, the Secretariat or the Ministry. Juniors admitted that they in fact do so, but blame it on the failure of the system to respond to their grievances.
White officers found it unacceptable that non-statutory forces, such as MK, still had functioning offices at HQ’s.
3.4.4 Sport, Morale and Cohesion
Over the centuries, many types of sport had their origins in the military. Examples are horse riding, fencing, archery, target shooting, the martial arts and athletic items such as throwing the javelin and so on.
Individual sports, such as boxing, develop personal qualities like character and determination. Group sports, for example soccer, develop a sense of teamwork and unity. Spectator sports develop strong emotions in support of an individual or a team and what they represent. Spectators would not enthusiastically cheer their SANDF team to victory during a match and then harshly and unduly criticise the organization afterwards!
Contact sports also serve as an outlet for aggression under controlled circumstances, such as in boxing and rugby. Lastly, but very importantly, sport develops the qualities an individual or team needs to perform in a highly competitive environment. Sport is a form of conflict between individuals or teams and the military’s main function is to successfully deal with conflict.
At the same time, sport is a healthy form of leisure time utilization, during and after work, for combating idleness – the enemy of high morale.
The upsurge of the intricate professional sports industry has dramatically changed the sports scenario of yesteryear and the Committee would not think of prescribing to the SANDF what should be done. However, what should be considered, is to attach greater importance to the inter-unit competitions within the SANDF as well as SANDF teams participating in provincial leagues and international military sport competitions. An idea, which may be given some thought, is to employ professional individuals in uniform, as sport officers or otherwise, who are active or retired national sports heroes, to act as coaches or organizers of sport in the SANDF.
Having listened to numerous briefings by senior officers and a multitude of testimonies by all ranks and privates, the Committee formed the firm impression that sport has a very low profile in the SANDF. Since sport can undoubtedly play an important part in fostering high morale, cohesion and unity, the Committee recommends that the SANDF revise its Sports Plan and policy.
3.4.5 Interpretation of Doctrines and Policy
A lot of doctrines and policy are subject to interpretation and the Committee would suggest that such rules and regulations should become a little more crisp and more understandable, so that they are not subjected to interpretations. As it is, there are too many exceptions in the SANDF which give rise to an impression of bias.
The Committee also encountered members who stated that they had problems with the MDC, in that it allows for wide interpretation.
3.4.6 Erosion of CO’s authority
An aspect that cannot be over-emphasised, is that there are certain common complaints and grievances that were brought to the attention of the Committee, across colour-, gender- and former force lines. The prospect of losing a job arouses the same concerns and feelings of uncertainty and insecurity by all facing this situation. What happens in situations such as these, is that the functionary who is perceived to be responsible, invariably has to bear the brunt of the frustrations, insecurity and anger of the members concerned. In a unit scenario, this is unfortunately the commanding officer.
A number of developments tend to undermine the authority, status and esteem of the commanding officer. Each one on its own may well be justified, but the cumulative effect warrants serious investigation. These aspects are the following: Intimidation, the unions (troops are politicised and speak like union activists); the forums on all levels; and the open-door policy.
Some young corporals, sergeants and lieutenants, as a result of intimidation by privates well over 30 years and of the same cultural orientation, have abdicated their authority.
Many of the small number of white witnesses before the Committee, stated that they were intimidated with for example, "remember what happened at Tempe?", and they are inhibited to report such intimidation, because then the intimidators could actually execute such threats with the accusation that they have been "telling on" the intimidators. However, where such intimidation may exist, real or imagined, the SANDF does not seem to have the ability to manage it. Instead, the authorities seem to react in panic, resulting in potentially even more explosive situations. For example, at one base, a black member was arrested on an allegation of intimidation. The case of this member, is recounted in Appendix A).
On many occasions, due to time constraints, the Committee invited witnesses to appear as groups instead of individually. It then happened very often that an informal leader acted as spokesperson for the group. Informal, in the sense that such a spokesperson did not necessarily have a leader’s appointment and neither was he/she the most senior person in the group. The testimony was then delivered in activist/trade unionist style.
Be that as it may, their presentations gave one a fair idea of the nature of the conduct of discussions that one might find at some of the forums or informal meetings. It would appear that they tend in the direction of incitement and plotting, with one being the "ringleader". In some cases the spokesperson had a distinct personal issue and had seemed to have gathered the others to support his/her case. The acceptance of presenting collective grievances is something that needs to be managed with circumspection. In one case, a private’s complaint was that his forum resolved and requested for a commanding officer to be removed, but that they have not heard anything about it since!
The Committee did not investigate how these forums function. It would seem that some are functioning well, following set guidelines. They however, may be subjected to intimidation by the CO’s or completely ignored. What is however clear, is that the system is not terribly responsive to the forums and it does not feel comfortable with the unions. The Committee recommends that the time is ripe to review the functioning of both forums and labour unions.
3.5 MEDICAL AND HEALTH MATTERS
3.5.1 The spread of HIV/AIDS
The SANDF recognizes that AIDS/HIV poses a serious problem within the organisation. The members, especially those in lower ranks, have a high risk of exposure to HIV and other STD’s. Some of the reasons for this are due to the disproportionate numbers of young members, placed in difficult environments and often posted away from home.
The SANDF is of the view that members need to be deployed all over the country so that they can get a better understanding of its layout and functioning, the reason being that they will be better prepared for leadership positions. This is a debatable position when viewed in light of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
People are at times posted to extreme parts of the country. A person may be taken from Nelspruit and be deployed to the Western Cape and the one in the Western Cape be deployed in Nelspruit normally to do the same work as guards at the gate. These are people, some of whom have families. They are married and the distances to travel between the two extremes, usually is very long, sometimes two days on the road one way. This leaves very little time to be with one’s family before they are required to go back to where they are assigned.
Some members spend up to nine months on duty before they are given permission to visit home. Consequently, this and easy access to commercial sex and the general prevelant risk taking ethos, put these members at risk.
Also worth noting, is that members are concerned and feel that they are being stereotyped into being HIV-positive. Some members feel that routine medical tests make it possible to have them tested for HIV, without proper procedures. Consequently, they feel that the entire procedure of AIDS-testing predisposes them to prejudicial treatment by their superiors. At one unit, it was reported that unauthorised people, particularly platoon commanders, take an active role during such examinations.
Dealing with HIV/AIDS in the SANDF
One comes across various documents dealing with HIV/AIDS, posters in the offices talking about HIV/AIDS and general concern about AIDS. However, a clear and focused strategy aimed at raising awareness is needed. Policies that would ameliorate the situation should be applied.
Accommodation could be considered as one of the strategies. There are more single quarters than there are married ones and almost invariably the married quarters are given to the senior officials.
The Committee is of the firm view that, if deployment of soldiers could be rationalised in a manner that would bring members and their families closer together, this would be a great contribution to containment of the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Further, it would seem as if there is no clear plan on how to treat people who have been identified with HIV/AIDS. In the Western Cape, we came across a member, who informed the Committee that he had been identified as being HIV- positive. He reported that he was in a very hostile environment and was looked upon as an outcast, because of his condition. He has been applying, without any success, to be re-deployed back to Gauteng, so that he can be closer to his family and support systems.
Commanding officers have complained that, in terms of the system, probably as a result of the sensitivity and confidentiality involved, the medical reports do not stipulate it as such when a person has been tested positive for HIV/AIDS. Their complaint is that they only know that such a person should not be given certain tasks, but since the reason is not given, they would not know that such a person should be handled with circumspection. If they did, they would be in a position to give a person the necessary support in the workplace and otherwise. The Committee raised the issue with the CO. The CO said there was nothing he could do, because transfers have been stopped.
A clear policy on how to treat the people infected with Aids or the invalid in the system is needed.
High rates of HIV infection in the military will affect civilian rates through:
* Contact with spouses and sexual partners;
* Contact with sex workers and other civilian populations while in the military; and
* Contact with others after return to civilian life.
While the SANDF is beginning to recognise this challenge, opportunities to do more, exist by way of education and prevention. Programs could be initiated that would address personnel engaged in high-risk behavior, in a disciplined and organised manner. The other advantage is that military staff component is large, "captive" and easy to reach.
Programs are emerging nationally, that address the issue of AIDS and prevention. The most recent and high profile one is the joint program between the Universities of Stellenbosch and Medunsa. This program aims at:
* Expanded or improved prevention and education for military personnel including medical staff;
* Provision of voluntary and confidential counseling and testing services;
* Condom education and availability; and
* Expanded STD diagnosis and treatment services.
AIDS is a national problem and it seriously affects morale, standards and combat readiness. In practice, when a company of troops, for example, has to be composed and prepared for deployment in a region, it has to be reshuffled internally to replace those members who are medically unfit, with others. Those to be replaced would include people who are AIDS/HIV positive. And for international peacekeeping operations, the same standards apply. The SANDF has, or is in the process, of defining its responsibility within the national plan.
3.5.2 Status of Military Hospitals
The DoD has hospitals that in the past have prided themselves on their good reputation. The infrastructure has been recognised as being good and solid. However, in recent years, the situation of some of the hospitals has been deteriorating. At 2 Military Hospital in Cape Town, management, including the newly appointed officer commanding, indicated that the situation had become pathetic and assumed crises proportions. Not only do nurses have to do cleaning of the wards and feed patients, but in addition, they have to worry about the security of the institution! The officer commanding reported that she has on several occasions brought the status of this hospital to the attention of the relevant military officials, but has received no response.
Reflecting on 2 Military Hospital, presentations made by management, staff and members, is that 2 Military Hospital is virtually collapsing. Were it to be audited, in terms of, for example, The Occupational Health and Safety Act, it could be shut down. There seems to be a lack of support services in terms of the core business. Whether one is talking of the need to guard and protect the hospital, whether one could talk in terms of the basic maintenance of facilities or the cleaning of the hospital itself, this seems to be a difficult situation.
The fear is that, if nothing is immediately done, not only the SANDF, but the pride of the country, could go down together with 2 Military Hospital.
The other related issue is the fact that, the workload of the hospital is actually higher than it seems, in that, people who are retired from the military, still come back to be attended to. So that the actual volume in the out-patients and other facilities are high. It is not only the members who have retired themselves, but also all their dependants, who go to the hospital for medical treatment and services. The capacity of the hospital to deliver, has also been placed under strain by the increased numbers of privates, most of whom are married, some with children. Previously, SAMHS based their planning on unmarried privates without dependants.
Given the status of this hospital, the increased demand for its services and the shortage of funding, the Committee recommends that partial outsourcing be considered.
This hospital is central to the needs of the military establishment in the Western Cape and the Committee recommends that its current status be the subject of an urgent and focused investigation.
Of further concern, is the former Natal Command Medical HQ. This facility is housed in a condemned building. However, patients are still housed there. We suggest that this matter be investigated as well.
One patient reported being supplied with expired medicines from the Natal Command. The Committee talked to the authorities about this matter. The response was that if the patient saw that the medicine had expired, the patient should simply have brought it so that he could be issued with a new pack. The onus was placed on the patient.
The impression the Committee got, was that the policy to dispose of the expired medicines, to the extent that it exists, was tentatively applied. This matter calls for review.
3.5.3 Specialised diets
Also raised was the issue of food. In one unit, it was indicated that people who require a special diet, are not served by the mess, basically because the mess or the kitchen has been privatised and therefore is not in a position to provide special diets for people. The Committee wondered how the tender was accepted, if it did not provide for special diets. It is however clear that norms, standards and specifications for the SANDF procurement system, if they do not already exist, need to be established in this regard.
3.5.4 Access to Medical Benefits
Access to medical benefits by unmarried members of the SANDF with dependants or married members of the SANDF who have children outside wedlock, were challenged. The Committee was told that, if a soldier says he has got a child, the SANDF will only accept the fact after DNA testing. This has a negative impact on family relations, because it raises suspicions that bring tensions in the marriage. This matter needs to be looked at.
At 2 Military Hospital, one woman reported that she was required to take a DNA test to prove parentage to her child, so that the child could be registered for medical benefits. The Committee found it very disturbing that a woman who had given birth at the hospital in question and had received all necessary documentation from them, including a birth certificate, now had to undergo DNA testing at this same hospital. The Committee raised this issue with the CO and he promised us feedback on it. At the time of writing, it had not been received.
A similar case was encountered at 3 Military Hospital, where a senior official was really angry that he had to prove that two of his children were in fact his own. The Committee has come across several similar cases and recommends that the policy in this regard, be taken under review.
3.5.5 Authority of Medical Personnel vs that of the CO
There is concern about the involvement or supposed involvement of some CO’s in matters that are of a medical nature. Some CO’s question the integrity or the professionalism of a doctor’s opinion, even to the extent where the express instructions of practitioners have been contradicted by CO’s. Various testimonies to this effect have been put before the Committee. This state of affairs can clearly not be allowed to persist.
3.5.6 Approval of Medical Discharges : Psychological Grounds
Medical discharges are approved by the Surgeon General, unlike other administrative discharges which are approved by the Minister.
However, administrative justice is lacking in that the ex-member should be informed by the board of the discharge recommendation and be invited to appeal. This does not happen and there is a long delay between the Medical Board and the discharge approval by the Surgeon General.
The perception is that these medical discharges on psychological grounds are used by the "white" SAMHS officers to discharge "dissident" blacks. Unlike medical discharges for reasons of physical unfitness, psychological discharges are difficult to measure or prove.
3.6.1 Language policy
Government policy requires that English be used as an official language in the Defence Force. While some OC’s comply with this policy, Afrikaans is still widely used as a preferred language in most units. The members find this to be very frustrating particularly when communication is about things that concern them the most. It is not unusual for instructions or duty sheets to be given in Afrikaans. The language issue is quite serious and members find ir demoralising. It is not unusual for members to misinterpret documents written in Afrikaans.
The common threat about their attitude towards Afrikaans is that they are unable to follow instructions and as a result, they are seen to not want to work and to be insubordinate. Administrative justice, however, requires that a person giving instructions should ensure that his instructions are understood. This does not seem to be the case among those people who prefer Afrikaans.
It would seem that in some cases, the use of Afrikaans is used as part of power play. At one base, the OC received a letter bearing issues from the troops forum concerning the management of the unit. The OC answered in Afrikaans using legal language that had threatening overtones. The OC was threatening disciplinary and court action if the troops forum did not withdraw the letter. It is alleged that some of the issues that were raised referred to what the OC had said at the parade.
Abusive language is common in the Defence Force. In an interview with the Committee one white official reflected as follows: "Whites who are for change and promote fairness in the Department of Defence are called Kaffir Boeties. Some racists left the force, but many still remain. Among themselves, they still talk about the green ones and still refer to blacks as Kaffirs. In social work situations, the black social workers are still expected to see blacks and white, whites". He continued: "Unlawful labour practices are still common especially in the period 1994 to 1999. This period saw all things being done unconstitutionally. BMATT assisted with integration, but transformation has no external support. The middle management is not transformed at all". He concluded by saying, "Some whites believe that the labour act is not applicable to the DoD. Only the courts make decisions that are seen to be applicable to the DoD. Racists use the Defence Act to get back at the troops. Small infractions by the troops are made into a big thing by the racists."
The impression people have is that the senior people are not visible as well as the Department of Equal Opportunities. In addition, there is no pressure to change. There is a strong feeling from some ranking white members that the DoD cannot transform itself. Pressure must be put on it to change. Another white officer stated that the reason the officers support the policies coming from higher levels, is because they know that they will not be implemented and nothing will happen because they will not be reprimanded.
The DoD is criticised for its lack of discipline. It is generally accepted that discipline carries with it a positive attitude, espirit the corps, high morale, strong leadership command and control. The principals for its execution are inter alia, transparency and simplicity. Going along is military culture, top down approach and total commitment. The DoD lacks transparency especially in its staffing process, most instructions given in Afrikaans are not understood and thus violate the principal of simplicity and practicality.
Military culture is in a crisis because there has not been exercises to build the much talked about "ONE ARMY CONCEPT". The top-down approach is in place but looses credibility at times due to perceived lack of commitment to some orders. The Ministerial Committee has received submissions alleging that military police were instructed at some units, not to arrest whites when found infringing the law. In some places, soldiers on guard duty are instructed not to search cars driven by whites. Discriminatory practices within the DoD will undermine discipline. Consequently, since discriminatory practices are pervasive in the DoD one can conclude that the DoD is responsible for the lack of discipline.
It is also the view of the Committee that the continued use of Afrikaans in the SANDF be addressed. Due to historical perspectives and certain current practices and perceptions, the impression exists that Afrikaans is often used to scold and/or to exclude non-Afrikaans speaking members. In order to dispel these conceptions, it is recommended that Afrikaans speakers be sensitised as to the potential impact of the indiscriminate use of Afrikaans.
It would seem as if some of the very critical decisions of the JMCC are not being implemented, as they were intended in the agreements. It was for example agreed that communication strategy was going to be a central element in the transformation process so that people could know what is going on. The Committee found that information that is available, is either half-known or is distorted and in some cases, members come up with their own interpretations.
The CO’s have what they call communication sessions in the form of parades held in the mornings. These are usually seen as one-way sessions where the CO informs the unit about orders for the day. The troops find these sessions to be of limited use, because the CO gives instructions and seldom allows for a question period, thus members have little opportunity to articulate their problems. They reported that, when they inquire about any issue affecting their well-being, they are told that they are politicking and politics belong in Parliament, that is where they must go.
Thus, communication in the Department of Defence leaves a lot to be desired. It is not unusual to come across CO’s who are not aware of the existence of certain policy documents having a bearing on transformation. People in high management posts seem content to await instructions from HQ. Most do not show curiosity about policies relating to administration. In fact, some CO’s resent the fact that the troops have many sources of information. They feel that such a phenomenon undermines the CO, as the major informant at parades. They argue that such diverse sources of information confuse the troops, as the information might be distorted. The Committee is of the impression that in the SANDF, information is hardly a tool for management, instead it is a tool for power. Information is thus contested. The common expressions one hears go somewhat as follows: "The troops believe what they like and they discount the rest", or the troops say: "They (whites) tell us lies, because they want us to lose confidence in our government." Thus the "us" and "them" phenomenon is still prevalent.
In spite of courses, lectures, briefings, bulletins and pamphlets, many members, especially in the lower ranks, are still ignorant of the detail of policies, regulations and schemes affecting them. Information about these should be issued on a repetitive basis. They include subjects such as the medical scheme, pension funds, disability compensation, the staffing process, etc.
Members who have applied for posts in terms of the staffing process and were not accepted, but did not get any feedback, get confused. They hear about others who were informed that their applications had been successful and then deduce that they were not. The uncertainty lead to suspicions, "We begin to think that our CO did not process our applications, perhaps because he doesn’t like us". In some cases, some people allege that they found their applications in the dustbin. The responsible authorities claim that, in the view of the hundreds of thousands of applications that have to be processed, it is not administratively feasible to individually inform all those whose applications have been unsuccessful.
In terms of normal administrative communication, there were members who complained about incidents such as that their nominations for courses were accepted, but that they were only advised after the course had already started. Others stated that they received advertisements of posts after the date for applications had already expired.
The Committee is convinced that there is a need for simple, clear, unambiguous, fair, timeous and transparent two-way communication that is disseminated effectively to all levels of the SANDF.
Furthermore, the Committee recommends that an investigation be launched into the use of information - and multi-media technology in order to facilitate the free flow of information in the SANDF. If necessary, this investigation should be outsourced.
It would appear that the terms "transparency" and "Defence Force" are by their very nature, mutually exclusive. As a general officer remarked to the Committee: "the culture of the military is to bleed to the inside". That is, do not show the outside public that you are having problems, even though this may be true. Put up a brave and united front.
While this creed may be understandable, it would seem as if there are those who tend to believe that "Indeed there are no problems in the Defence Force. There is only a handful of criminals and once we weed them out, every thing will be fine!" Along these lines, people who complain, are often seen as self-seekers and trouble makers.
3.7 MILITARY JUSTICE SYSTEM
3.7.1 Legal System
There is an urgent need to look into the MDC to inquire into the constitutionality of certain provisions.
The effect of the Cape High Court decision at the end of 1998, (that declared the MDC unconstitutional), was that the SANDF did not have a military criminal justice system for most of 1999.
The Military Discipline Supplementary Measures Act, 16/2000, addressed the constitutional issues, however the delay in implementing the new code resulted in many outstanding criminal trails. For example, in the SA Army, at the end of 1999 there were 298 out of 362 criminal trails outstanding and 3644 out of 4009 disciplinary trails. This backlog has been addressed, but the Free State High Court recently again questioned the constitutionality of the MDC.
What is important to bear in mind, is that continuity should be maintained during the course of such an investigation, so as to prevent a backlog as described above, from re-occurring.
In its Interim Report the Committee recommended that black lawyers be appointed as military law officers, because of the perception that "black" accused were tried by "white" military judges. The Committee is pleased to note that the Minister, Chief of the SANDF and the Chief of Military Legal Services have already implemented this recommendation, to good effect.
3.8.1 Constitutional Aspects
The Committee is concerned that the draft Defence Bill has not yet been finalised and submitted to Parliament. The existing Defence Act, 44/1956 does not meet the constitutional requirements and is in many aspects outdated.
At present, there are two Defence committees in Parliament, namely the Joint Standing Committee and the Portfolio Committee. The Committee recommends that the consideration be given to the rationalisation of these committees, into only one parliamentary committee that is responsible for defence issues in Parliament.
3.8.2 Military Ombud
The Public Protector appointed an investigator to deal with military matters in 1999. At present, the office of the Public Protector receives about 300 complaints relating to the SANDF per annum. Of these complaints, about 33% relate to pension benefits and 20% to discharges imposed by military courts. The DoD, through the office of the Inspector General has a complaints office that receives complaints regarding pay related matters.
In view of all the collective and individual complaints and grievances during this period of change, that cause low morale amongst members, it is strongly suggested that serious consideration be given to the appointment of a dedicated, independent ombudsperson or committee, for an indeterminate period. Such ombud could report directly to Parliament, thus further supporting the principles of civilian control and accountability.
One senior African member said: "We don’t have an ombudsman. This Committee is good. There should be a permanent body." Another witness suggested the appointment of political commissars.
3.9 POLICY MATTERS
3.9.1 The Army Battle School, Lohatla
Units of various corps of the Army are being re-located to other stations. This raises the question whether the school should not be totally closed down.
Probably the main, and essential, function of the School is to provide practical and live ammunition field training and experience, combining all the different necessary corps elements in one formation, in battle simulated conditions. If this requirement has fallen away, the base could well be closed down. However, it is the only known training establishment of its kind, where this can be done. This matter requires serious re-consideration.
In terms of welfare, the people in Lohatla are faced with a higher cost of living in that they are far removed from the national distribution network. The Committee recommends that a cost of living survey be conducted for the members in Lohatla, with the objective of considering a special allowance.
3.9.2 Utilisation of Military Police
On the utilisation of the Military Police and Intelligence Services, for purposes of crime prevention, has become commonplace. This is an age old issue in many countries, but it would appear that it has become the standard to utilise the SANDF to combat crime. This may have a serious detrimental effect if it becomes the norm.
With regard to Intelligence Services, it was found that Military Police get involved in matters that might have been better looked after by either National Intelligence or the South African Police Services. With regard to Military Intelligence, we have observed that at the very low levels, of privates, lance corporals and corporals there is a tendency to romanticise the concept of intelligence, to the level of agents and spies and informers.
In an internal security situation, this borders on political espionage and things that are usually done by the national intelligence body or if mandated, by Military Intelligence at the highest level. Troops are frustrated if they do not get money to pay informers and so on and according to the doctrine, this is something that is always strictly centralised and controlled at the highest level.
Combating of crime is the core business of the SAPS. The Committee had ample evidence and also formed its own observations to the effect that combating crime by the SANDF, has become commonplace. The Constitution as well as the laws and regulations, make provision for this. It should be borne in mind that it remains the primary task of the SAPS and only one of the secondary tasks of the military. As it now stands, the secondary task of the military is generally practised.
This is an unhealthy state of affairs and a lot of arguments and examples can be given to illustrate this. For example, it is general knowledge that the SAPS do not have enough numbers and their work is done by the SANDF, while the latter has a surplus of members. The SAPS should have enough people to do its primary tasks, instead of using the SANDF who do not really budget for such secondary tasks. Therefore, a lot of the military manpower and finances are being used for the police work from their own budget, whilst they are already suffering from financial constraints.
Drawing the members of the SANDF into domestic issues of the Republic of South Africa could have serious long-term implications.
To summarise, the dividing lines between the functions of military police, intelligence, the SAPS and other intelligence agencies on the one hand and also the line between military functions and police functions in combating crime, are getting blurred. This leads to frustration. People in the SANDF, in those services, have the perception that they can perform certain functions, while it actually falls within the ambit of responsibility of another department with the concomitant frustration.
Another problem is that this assistance granted to the SAPS, should only be on a strictly temporary basis, with the SANDF reverting to its primary function at the earliest, possible juncture. In practice however, this is not the case and the SANDF has to provide prolonged back-up assistance to the SAPS.
The tactical disadvantages are that, where the SAPS do their own work and the military theirs and only help when help is needed, the appearance of the military on the scene, if the SAPS are not available, has a positive effect on the people causing disturbances, because the military appears with more armaments and makes a strong statement and has a positive impact. If the populace however, get used to the military, seeing them every day doing this type of work, this impact will be lost.
Also some of the complaints we have received are that, in some situations when the army gets to a place, they are then expected to serve under the command of the SAPS. This they find very unacceptable and indeed, it may not be according to military doctrine.
Further, the SAPS get higher allowances, compared to their own. Further, members have indicated that very often, when they have to go into an area, they are led by policemen who are driving small and versatile vehicles and they are supposed to keep pace with the police, when in fact their trucks are not necessarily as manoeuvrable. Very often, they are required to come to sudden stops, change direction quickly and this has created problems and has caused injuries and accidents in some cases.
3.9.3. Broader Policy Framework.
In terms of the broader policy framework and mindful of the fact that the DoD has a civilian component, a challenge facing the DoD is an integrated approach to performance management and development. This challenge is anchored around the White Paper on the Transformation of the Public Service supported by the White Paper on Transforming Service Delivery "Batho Pele", White Paper on Human Resource Management, White Papers on Affirmative Action and Training and Development and the Public Service Laws Amendment Act, 1997 and the New Public Service Regulations.
Also relevant to transformation in the DoD is the Employment Equity Act, No. 55 of 1998 read together with the Employment Equity Code of Good Practice. Unfortunately, this Act does not cover the military component of the DoD but it does apply to many others in the DoD.
3.10 EDUCATION AND TRAINING
3.10.1 Training Institutions and Training Courses
The DoD has good and strong training institutions, some of which enjoy worldwide recognition. Given their number and focus, these institutions are being rationalised to make them more efficient. Some of the former members of the NSF’s are of the opinion that the content of the courses, particularly advanced ones, should also be changed to make them more relevant to the challenges of the day. The SANDF is however attending to this matter as part of the rationalisation process.
Some of the black members feel that across the board, courses are used to hamper their progress. There are those who argue that they are failed unfairly and are often withdrawn in a matter of days before completing the course. At times, they argue that their failure may not necessarily be related to course-performance. At times, they may be told that they do not have the temperament of a soldier, they are too kind. They may also be told that their accents are inaudible and therefore not appropriate, because their instructions may not be heard or will be misunderstood.
The Committee is aware that some people are not sufficiently academically qualified for certain courses, especially those requiring mathematics. This is prevalent in the artillery courses, where the knowledge of trigonometry is important. This hurdle can be overcome through proper selection and training.
Of most concern to the Committee is in the areas where seemingly qualified people fail to do well in courses that are not necessarily mathematical. (See Appendix A for a typical example)
One of the issues that was raised by the members is that the course leadership (Directing Staff) is not representative. The course leaders tend to be white and their ranks are dominated by former SADF members. They are therefore seen to have a vested interest in failing candidates. Others complained that, during the examination they may face charges which then affect their concentration.
The Committee is of the view that, for most of the leadership courses, preparation of people who are identified for the course is uneven suggesting that planning in their selection needs to be streamlined. The following planning problems were identified:
* There is a long lag period between the prerequisite course and the next one. People tend to forget the contents.
* Some students enter these courses without having taken the prerequisite courses.
* Some students are more experienced than others resulting in unfair competition.
* Some enter the course without computer skills and this retards their progress.
* Some students enter the course having different expectations than those of the course objectives.
* Some students fail to do well on course, due to a lack of exposure suggesting that their involvement in the work of the units they come from, be is minimal. It should be noted that such members are not necessarily supernumararies.
The DoD is faced with a great need to train people. However, its training institutions are constrained and there is a large backlog to train in just about all the fields that are needed by the SANDF. In addition, it is not evident that anything visible is being done to mentor and to ensure that fast-tracking is implemented in a visible and effective manner. In addition, the Committee strongly recommends that all the promotional courses be closely supervised, to ensure that students are treated fairly. External monitoring should be considered to avoid the current practice, where the instructors play a role similar to that of one being a player and a referee at the same time. In some cases, curricula need to be made more relevant and interesting and lecture materials require amendment and updating.
The Committee recommends as follows:
* That curricula be reviewed as a priority and course materials be updated;
* That course leadership (Directing Staff) be made representative as soon as possible;
* That ex-NSF members, who have taken courses elsewhere, be incorporated as course instructors;
* That for certain courses, external instructors be invited to participate in training;
* That potential instructors, irrespective of whether they are from statutory forces or not, be identified and sent for training elsewhere to enhance their knowledge of the modules they will be teaching;
* That alternative external providers, in respect of some courses, be identified and accredited so that some members may complete their training requirements there. Some members could be identified to take their senior staff courses abroad; and
* That an exchange programme involving both students and instructors, be developed with institutions abroad.
3.11.1 Transport Problems
To address transport problems or transport requirements of members of the SANDF, it could be advisable to explore some schemes that do exist say for instance in KwaZulu Natal, Durban specifically. Uniformed members of the SANDF, do not pay to travel in the Durban municipal busses. Such an arrangement could also be duplicated in other areas, to good effect. The same thing could be extended to travel by rail and other public modes of transport. These are some of the issues that could be exploited in co-operation with the relevant local authorities, departments and parastatals.
3.12 PSHYCHOLOGICAL, SOCIAL WORK AND RELATED SERVICES
3.12.1 Personal Problems
A large number of members have personal problems making them the responsibility of the SANDF. They insist that the SANDF should accommodate them. While the SANDF should justly be able to claim to be a humane and caring organisation with a moral code of conduct, there are limits. There are also departmental goals to be achieved. While everything must be done to integrate task- and people orientations, the defence force cannot lose its reliability of being there when they are needed, and getting things done. Most submissions of personal problems, each individually assessed, undoubtedly has unquestionable merit. But the volume seen as a whole becomes almost unbearable on the shoulders of the SANDF.
There are countless examples of typical problems of which some are described in general terms in the following paragraphs.
One member’s two siblings are both sick and he needs to be stationed close to them; Another one wants to go on detached duty to Gauteng for similar reasons; Yet another one’s child lives with another family member who now wants to abandon the child. He therefore wants a transfer. Others are frustrated because their applications for transfers to places where they could further their private studies, were not successful.
In a system where privates are normally young and single they are housed in military single quarters. But during the process of change and with long-serving married privates, many of them have serious problems with family housing, requesting transfers.
Some assault cases.
In another submission, it was alleged that an officer was promoted to the rank of WO2 this year despite assaulting a fellow student at the Army Battle School. The question being asked in such a situation is, "his promotion should have been suspended for three years after this incident." The said Warrant Officer is a station commander in the Military Police. It is alleged that this lieutenant has repeatedly told his subordinates that, "He hates them including their government of the day."
Other reported cases of assault are those of a lieutenant who assaulted a Lance Corporal. The said lieutenant threatened that he would have this Lance Corporal dismissed from the SANDF in three months. Another case is that of a Major who allegedly physically assaulted a Lance Corporal at the parade grounds. The Major threatened the Lance Corporal not to report the matter to the Military Police. The Lance Corporal wrote to the CO for the redress of wrongs but has not received a reply. This incident was reported to have taken place between this and last year.
In some units, assaults were reported to be verbal and physical. The troops find such incidents to be humiliating. There is an example of a situation where physical punishment was carried out by having people carrying heavy objects around. One lieutenant reported that he and another lieutenant were made to carry a railway slab weighing 46.7kg around the block three times as a form of punishment. This happened several times.
At the same base, a lieutenant and a sergeant were made to carry a Samil tow bar for 18km as punishment. The lieutenant say his crime was that he had problems reading a scribbled map that was to help guide a convoy through a town. The Committee has seen both the tow bar and the railway slab and has requested that the slab be brought back to Pretoria for safe keeping. We expect that the railway slab, called "Sophie" will be delivered to the Ministers office in due course. Another one called "Dorah" has already been destroyed.
In one incident, a major, not pleased with two of his lieutenants, pulled them by the ears and knocked their heads against each other four times after which they were excused. This incident happened recently. One lieutenant reported that he felt dizzy as a result of this incident and he went to his room to rest.
A white sergeant was forced to walk 25km by a Major as punishment at night while on deployment in Natal. The sergeant reported that due to pressure and constant harassment he became blank while on deployment this year. He is now under medication.
In the interim report we indicated that the Committee will identify issues, foreseen or unforeseen that have emerged as a result of transformation and make relevant recommendations. The reported cases of assault refer to whites assaulting blacks. Blacks appear to be taking it in except in situations where they snap and the results are what happened at 7 SAI and Tempe. However, it is possible that for whatever reason, a white might exceed the boundaries of assault and in a similar manner take up arms against blacks. The Committee cautions that if this were to happen, the consequences might be far reaching resulting in serious retaliation from the non-statutory members.
SECTION 4 : EXECUTIVE SUMMARY : RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE COMMITTEE
TRANSFORMATION, STRUCTURES AND PROCESSES
1.1 A comprehensive review of the Transformation Process should be undertaken.
(See paragraphs 3.2.1 - 3.2.5, as well as 3.3.4)
1.2 With reference to the Transformation Process, it is recommended that all structural and other adjustments be made speedily to ensure that combat readiness is ensured/restored.
(See paragraph 3.2.1 – 3.2.5)
1.3 The compatibility of the "IT-languages" used by the various Arms of Service, should be ensured.
(See paragraph 3.2.8)
2. HUMAN RESOURCES
2.1 The policy and practice regarding the following issues should be reviewed:
* An "Exit Plan" for supernumerary staff.
(See paragraphs 2.4; 3.3.3; 3.3.13; 3.3.16)
* The staffing process
(See paragraph 3.3.2)
* Regimental funds
(See paragraph 3.3.7)
* Reserve Forces
(See paragraph 3.3.8)
* Disability Benefits and Payments
(See paragraph 3.3.9)
* Unacceptable Housing for Members
(See paragraph 3.3.10)
* Former Auxiliary Service Members
(See paragraph 3.3.11)
* Inter Departmental Transfers
(See paragraph 3.3.13)
* Merit Bonuses
(See paragraph 3.3.15)
* Allowances paid to Technical Staff
(See paragraph 3.3.17)
2.2 It is recommended that the SANDF should endeavour to place individual members as close as possible to their families, notwithstanding organisational requirements.
(See paragraph 3.2.13)
2.3 It is recommended that large-scale marketing be conducted to attract suitable potential members to the SANDF in order to facilitate the attainment of representivity objectives.
(See paragraph 3.2.13)
2.4 It is recommended that consideration be given to offering incentives to certain categories of professionals in order to attract/retain their services.
(See paragraph 3.2.13)
3. INSTITUTIONAL CULTURE
3.1 The policy and practice pertaining to the following issues relating to Institutional Culture, should be reviewed:
* The impact of Military Cultural Diversity
(See paragraph 3.4.2)
* Sports Plan and Policy
(See paragraph 3.4.4)
* Forums and Labour Unions
(See paragraph 3.4.6)
3.2 It is recommended that an inter-departmental task team be mobilized to study cultural interfaces in the civil service and make recommendations. The objective should be to bring the DoD in line with other Departments.
(See paragraph 3.4.2)
4. MEDICAL AND HEALTH MATTERS
4.1 The policy and practice pertaining to the following issues should be reviewed:
* Dealing with members living with HIV/AIDS
(See paragraph 3.5.1)
* The status of Military Hospitals
(See paragraph 3.5.2)
* Specialised Diets
(See paragraph 3.5.3)
* Access to Medical Benefits
(See paragraph 3.5.4)
* Medical discharges on psychological grounds
(See paragraph 3.5.6)
5.1 The policy and practice pertaining to the following issues should be reviewed:
* Language policy
(See paragraph 3.6.1)
* The use of IT and other technology in communication
(See paragraph 3.6.2)
6. THE MILITARY JUSTICE SYSTEM
The committee recommends that the constitutionality of certain aspects of the MDC be taken under review. (See paragraph 3.7.1)
7. LEGISLATION / REGULATIONS
7.1 The committee recommends that consideration be given to the possible rasionalisation / amalgamation of the present two (2) parliamentary committees dealing with defence matters.
(See paragraph 3.8.1)
7.2 The committee recommends that consideration be given to the appointment of a dedicated, independent ombud for the DoD.
(See paragraph 3.8.2)
8. POLICY MATTERS
8.1 The continued existence of the Army Battle School at Lohatla should be reviewed.
(See paragraph 3.9.2)
9. EDUCATION AND TRAINING
9.1 The committee recommends a number of amendments to the current training policy and practice.
(See paragraph 3.10.1)
10.1 The committee recommends that the possibility of reduced fares for members of the SANDF using public transport be investigated.
(See paragraph 3.11.1)
Examples of the Effect of Management of Change on Morale
A Typical story goes as follows:
A lieutenant was ranked as a captain by his own force. That is MK. He went to the first Board where he was ranked as a lieutenant. He appealed before another Board, the placement Board which confirmed the decision of the first board namely, that he cannot be a captain, and that his rank is that of a lieutenant. But, when his letter of appointment into the National Defence Force was issued, it referred to him as a staff sergeant. Whereupon he refused to sign that document. It ended up in a situation where he was advised just to take that rank of a sergeant of which he refused since both boards, BMATT, recommended the rank of a lieutenant. He was then told that Wallmanstal is closing and that he should either go to the training camp or somewhere else. He chose to leave for home from where he started sending appeals, even to the Minister. Five years, six years later, that matter has not been resolved.
On the failure of qualified people.
At Simonstown, a Seaman submitted testimonials that attested to his activities before joining the Navy. He had worked as a laboratory technician during the period 15 June 1998 to 14 July 1998. He volunteered also in Lesotho for the recounting of ballot papers after the elections. He has a matric exemption certificate completed in December 1994 and had attended university majoring in chemistry before dropping out to join the Navy. He was, however, discontinued from the Naval College.
His testimony reads as follows:
"Request to investigate the MT01 2000 final selection.
I strongly believe that the board had been unfair and biased in making decisions with regard to the selection of military training for officers part one students. The board decided that I do not qualify to be Committee as an officer, rank ensign in the South African Navy. Their reasons were based on the report from my then divisional officer who claimed as follows: That I have "poor leadership skills, poor communications skills, poor self conduct, lack of progress, bad personal quality assessment by the divisional officer, bad incidentation by the divisional instructor and a lack of active participation in physical training activities."
I totally disagree with the reasons given by the board as I had been taking various leadership roles in many instances during the course. In all the cases I have always performed to my best and had always produced excellent results. Some of the roles I had taken up are the following:
Divisional social officer, class leader, division and gunroom barman, various sports activities, senior student, second officer of the day and good physical training test results.
On one occasion after I had been involved in a physical conflict with a fellow student who was a head barman, my divisional officer (the same one), fired me from that position and the head barman was made a gunroom president. This case was ruled against me even though I had explained that I was attacked and only reacted in self defence.
Another reason that was brought up by the board was the fact that I broke my ankle during the student's sport parade while playing soccer, and as a result I could not be evaluated. This is confusing since I only spent about a week at 2 Military Hospital and had always been with the rest of the student body.
Yours faithfully, Seaman, Former student, South African Naval College."
Still at Simonstown, a certain chief petty officer reported as follows:
"On 26 April 2000 I applied in writing to do the audition for bandmaster. I then started preparing myself getting lessons from a music teacher at the University of Stellenbosch. About a week later I was given the attached syllabus, as the syllabus for my audition and I used it for my preparations.
In the weeks preceding the audition days, the members, including myself, who were going to audition, were requested on numerous occasions to show competence and also to ensure the correct music for the required syllabus was right. On 19 June 2000 was the date for my audition in the army band room in Youngsfield.
As I was busy with my audition, I was ordered to present my audition piece, The Barber of Seville, as though it was a concert performance. This was completely opposite to the printed sheet given to me earlier, and very far from correct. I did face two examinations and all four points were not adhered to by my officer commanding and the audition panel. This resulted in a very weak performance by navy band and caused me to be extremely humiliated in front of my fellow colleagues. I was unfairly marked.
Also attached is a new syllabus used for the examination which I was supposed to be given. I would like to mention that the navy band had the new syllabus but it was not given to me for reasons I do not know. After the examination, I approached the Lieutenant about this matter. His answer was that he told me that they were using the new syllabus. But my question is, why didn’t he give me the new syllabus if he knew it was in operation and the navy band had one?
During our conversation the Lieutenant told me that I must change my teacher because he is not recognised. But my has a degree and he is teaching at a recognised University in this country.
I hereby respectfully request that this matter be investigated and I be treated fairly as the code of conduct for uniformed members of the South Africa National Defence Force states. I would appreciate it if my grievance as set out above receives the necessary attention and that I receive a reply." A Petty Officer at Simonstown.
On post manipulation.
A Chief Petty Officer reported that he was taken out of a WO Class2 post to make room for two Whites. He was put in a supernumerary on 26 June 1995 and this actually then retarded his progress. He provided the committee with a signal reference, P/626/September 16 1998 and another one, 160930Z and he indicated that he was then asked to apply for a post that did not appear in the new structure. That was when he complained. His request is that his promotion to petty officer be backdated to 1993 and that to chief petty officer to 1997 and that WO2 to 1991 and WO1 to 1994. The above allegations were confirmed by Commander Chief of the Navy, in a letter dated 28 April 1999.
Another chief petty officer, had a similar complaint of being manipulated in terms of posts. And he requested that … he is transferred from a WO2 post to a CPO post and back again to a WO2 post to accommodate another CPO to be favourably nominated for MTR3 course. In other words, what it is, is that he is complaining that there was a malpractice in respect of selection for MTR3 course. The letter had been written to Flag Officer Commanding. He further indicates that he would like to be advised of his career plan as this is also in limbo.
On grievance procedures.
We would like to recount as a case study one Seaman.
This is what this person said,
"I joined the Navy during the height of the apartheid regime whereby Blacks were offered only security posts irrespective of their qualifications. Due to sufferings and poverty, I was left with no option but to accept the condition of employment irrespective of my personal reservations. The reason for this grievance are as follows.
When I joined the Navy, I was having a matric with exemption in the following subjects. Physical science H/G D, Biology H/G C, Mathematics S/G C. At least with the abovementioned subjects I should have been offered an opportunity in the technical field, which the requirements are standard 8 with maths and physics. But because of the policies during apartheid regime, I was offered a security post. In August 1994 I submitted a request to be considered for electrical studies at Wingfield Technical College. My request was turned down.
On 30 January 1995, I applied to be considered for an officer’s course. While I was waiting for a chance to sit in front of the selection board I heard through the grapevine that my application was unsuccessful due to the fact that there were better applicants than me of which that was not true.
In the same year, 1995, I enrolled at Unisa for a B degree in industrial psychology. I requested to be considered for a personnel post. My request was turned down due to the fact that there were no posts available. In 1996 I submitted the request to be considered for a MFSH mechanical at Wingfield Technical College, but I was advised that the navy has placed a moratorium on the protection branch, that no member will be given inter branch transfers until further notice.
For the period of three years, 1996 to 1998 no request was accepted. But in April 1998 there was a signal stating that the moratorium had been lifted. I submitted a request to be considered for ER. My request was not approved without a reason. In 1998 I submitted a request asking to be considered for a personnel post. My reason being that in 1999 I will graduate with personnel related subjects. My request went missing within the system. There was no answer. In 1999 I graduated with B degree in administration. I requested to be placed on the other available post. Any post, just to get out of protection post.
I was advised to go for a personnel post because I have graduated with personnel related subjects. Then I was told that I will be evaluated in the personnel field for the period of three months. If I pass the evaluation, I will be automatically offered an inter branch transfer, but after three months I was informed that the inter branch transfer process has been stopped.
From 1994 until this date every request for inter branch transfer that I have submitted was not recommended nor approved. The reason being no post available but at the same time recruiting officers keep on employing people in the post that they claimed were not available to me. For the period of six years, I have done only one course. That is protection part one. I feel that I have been disadvantaged through discrimination and have been denied the access to the opportunities where I could have advanced to my full potential.
Recently my name has appeared in the promotional list, but when I was starting to feel happy, I was informed the navy has promoted me by mistake. This situation has caused my service in the navy to become more intolerable as it is affecting my life socially, emotionally and health. I am about to lose my composure because my mission was to become a decent disciplined sailor, but the situation is compelling me to become an undisciplined useless soldier. This type of scene embarrasses and is taking away my dignity, hopes, vision and my dreams.
I hope the navy will handle my problem with care, but if at any stage the channel of command fail to solve my problem, I will request the matter to be forwarded into the next higher channel of command until all the way up to the Minister of the National Defence Force."
Statement / Memorandum
Exploitation And Victimization Of Black Soldiers In The South African National Defence Force (Sandf) In Kwa-Zulu Natal.
The South African Security Forces Union is a military trade union having recently been established in terms of the general regulations for the SANDF and Reserve! It is a progressive union actively organising and recruiting all uniform members of the SANDF country wide to ensure fair labour practice. During its recruitment campaign the union has been inundated by a number of serious administrative problems affecting mainly black soldiers throughout Natal.
Members of the SANDF are working under extremely difficult conditions which are similar to those which were prevalent at the workplace during the dark days of ‘apartheid’.
Firstly there is no effective Grievance Procedure: This means that when a member has a grievance he will have to follow the defence force’s strict hierarchical rank structure. This measure is so ineffective that members complaints never reach the top management in Pretoria Headquarters but are sabotaged en route through the system.
Those few which reach the level of the chief of the national defence force, are already edited and meaningless.
The situation is so bad that members grievances are always ignored or take about two to three years to be attended.
If a member is frustrated by this system of delaying tactics and approaches the defence force headquarters directly then he becomes the victim of the circumstances.
Most members decide to remain silent and not complain and some decide to leave the defence force against their will but had to leave because they could not operate under harsh circumstances where they were not even allowed to complain. This union has got in its possession the names of such members.
Management at the various military units have a tendency of formulating false charges against black members and indeed these members are made to appear before the court martials and effectively get dismissed.
This happens especially to those members who happen to be very strong enough and to oppose this obvious corruption and exploitation.
Military courts have specifically been designed for black members of the force and the military detention cells are used as places of hell to incarcerate black soldiers.
The situation in Kwa-Zulu Natal resembles that of Sodom and Gomoro if not worse. Here one witnesses a situation whereby black soldiers are bitterly beaten and physically assaulted by their white commanders if they ever complain about their exploitation.
The example is what has happened at I engineer on Tuesday 08-05-2000 whereby a black soldier was assaulted by his white commander in full view of the officer commander in charge of that military institution.
The condition was so bad that he had to be seen by a military doctor at the defence forces base hospital in Durban on the same day and was booked off for three days due to the injuries sustained following the assault.
He was persuaded by the senior officer not to lay charges against his assailants. He however laid charges of assault at the military police on the 08-05-2000 but nothing was done until today. What is more in this particular case is that when he came back from the sick leave which had officially been given to him with a medical certificate, he was charged by the same senior officer who had assaulted him and was sent to the military detention cells on Monday 15-05-2000. The false charge put against him was that he was absent without leave (AWOL) during the sick leave period.
The union was informed on Thursday morning 18-05-2000 and following the union intervention the member was released on the same day. The military members salary has been withdrawn since August / September 1999 for reasons not known to him.
Whenever he enquired about his salary he is beaten and threatened with assault rifles by his ‘warlike’ commanders.
This is just one example. There are many members of the SANDF in the various military units who are victims of this exploitation by their white commanders. These problems had been communicated to the senior command structures of the SANDF but with no assistance at all. Individual insurances have lapsed resulting in families suffering. Furthermore, affected members are affected by loan sharks. There is no evidence that white members have suffered the fate.