01 November 2004

The Defence Policy

Chapter 11 section 198 of the constitution says " National security must reflect the resolve of South Africans, as individuals and as a nation, to live as equals, to live in peace and harmony, to be free from fear and want and to seek a better life" The first paragraph of chapter one of the Defence review under Challenges of Transformation says "In the new South Africa national security is no longer viewed as a predominantly military and police problem. It has been broadened to incorporate political, economic, social and environmental matters. At the heart of this new approach is a paramount concern with the security of the people"

Therefore the South African Defence Policy should be based primarily on the threat to human security analysis. The threat to human security is at present represented by high levels of unemployment, poverty, and poor health to mention but a few. Acquisition of equipment and military spending should therefore if at all be done in line with averting the eminent threat facing the South African population as mentioned above. The emphasis on human security is informed by the fact that there is no foreseeable conventional military threat against South Africa.

Secondary functions and tasks of SANDF with respect to regional security/international

The Foreign Affairs white paper on South Africa’s involvement in peacekeeping is wholeheartedly welcome. SANDF’s role and functions on regional and international peace missions should not be co-opted into war under the disguise of peace enforcement. More civilians should be trained for involvement in peacekeeping missions because bringing about peace goes beyond provisions of armed military personnel. At times it requires rebuilding of human rights structures, vibrant civil society and democratic institutions.

Acquisition of military equipment

Given the recent experience on the controversial arms deal, the question of industrial participation off set should not be made part of the future arms deals should they be necessary and unavoidable. The offsets only served a purpose of raising expectations as delivery of thousands of jobs proves to be too hard to fulfil. Given the submission made on introductory remarks about the absence of foreseeable conventional military threat to South Africa there should be a moratorium of military equipment acquisition unless and until the security threat is different to what it is today.

Military Spending

We commend our government for not spending more than 1.7% of the Gross Domestic Product on the military. The General Secretary of the United Nations recommended reductions on military spending because states made a habit of spending more on the military than it was necessary, in fact at the expense of spending on areas of human greater needs such as in health, shelter, food and education. South Africa being a host of PAP it will be exemplary if we continue to reduce the military budget in proportion to national budget to reduce poverty levels, after all most of the conflicts in the continent are fueled by a scramble for scarce resources.


Land and Environment

Former military land should be rehabilitated for civilian use. The dispute between SANDF and communities over ancestral land makes the defence force appear like a bully. New plans of training grounds should include environmental impact analysis, plans and costs of rehabilitating the land thereafter. This will prevent current problems of unexploded ordinances faced by communities on several sites in the country.

For and on behalf of the Ceasefire Campaign

Mr. C. Khumalo

National Coordinator