BUDGETARY REVIEW AND RECOMMENDATION REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON DEFENCE AND MILITARY VETERANS, DATED 01 NOVEMBER 2011
1.1. The Money Bills Amendment and Related Procedures Act (2009) provides for a parliamentary procedure to amend money bills, thus granting parliamentary committees greater opportunity to influence the allocation of funds to the departments they oversee.
1.2 Section 5 of this Act compels the National Assembly, through its committees, to annually submit Budget Review and Recommendation Reports (BRRR) on the financial performance of departments accountable to them. The BRR report must be informed by a Committee’s interrogation of, amongst others, the national departments’ medium-term estimates of national expenditure, strategic priorities and measurable objectives, National Treasury published reports, annual reports and financial statements, as well as observations made during oversight visits. Essentially the BRR report should be a Committee’s assessment of the department’s performance and service delivery (given available resources), as well as the effectiveness and efficiency with which its programmes are resourced. Although the BRR reports must be published at a specific time in the budget cycle, it is clear that the work that informs the report must be ongoing.
1.3 Section 200 of the Constitution sets out
the mandate of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) which is to
“defend and protect the Republic, its territorial integrity and its people in
accordance with the Constitution and the principles of international law
regulating the use of force”. In pursuance of this mandate, the Department of
Defence provides, manages, prepares and employs defence capabilities
commensurate with the needs of
1.4 The Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans is mandated to, amongst other statutory obligations, support the Department of Defence and Military Veterans (DoDMV) in fulfilling its mandate through the rigorous monitoring of the implementation of legislation and adherence to policies, such as the Defence Act 42, of 2002, the White Paper on Defence (1996) as well as the Defence Review (1998).
1.5 The report comprises four parts detailing the analysis of the 2010/11 Annual Report and Financial statements, the prevailing strategic objectives, the budget allocation and financial performance, and the committee observations and recommendations
2. DEFENCE ENTITIES: OVERVIEW OF 2010/11 ANNUAL REPORTS AND FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
2.1 ARMSCOR [ARMAMENTS CORPORATION OF
Established in terms of the Armaments Corporation of South Africa, Limited Act (2003), the purpose of this entity is to satisfy the defence materiel requirements of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and any other organ that may require such services.
The entity made notable progress in achieving targets set for the period under review. However the following areas of underachievement and challenges are noted for further monitoring and oversight:
The funding and staffing challenges at the Simonstown Dockyard meant that the deteriorating facilities could not be upgraded, and that appropriately experienced and skilled personnel were regularly lost to the private sector.
The transformation of Armscor’s staff profile is stagnant. While the Employment Equity Committee (EEC) was re-established to manage matters of transformation and equity, it is clear that the reasons for the poor performance against set targets require closer scrutiny.
Targets set for Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) were also not achieved. This is attributed to the insufficient transformation of Armscor and the Defence Industry, particularly the predominance of foreign suppliers in the defence procurement environment, and the fact that these suppliers often have greater spending power than local competitors.
While Armscor received an unqualified audit report for the period under review, and total revenue for the same period increased with 9.9%, the following funding challenges constrain particularly the management of the Simonstown Dockyard, the ability to rejuvenate workforce, the renewal of infrastructure, and maintaining and attracting specialised, technically-skilled personnel.
2.2 CASTLE OF GOOD HOPE
The Annual Report of this entity does not clearly stipulate performance against set targets for the period under review. As a result, it is difficult to measure whether this entity’s work was informed by specific objectives. We are mindful that this is linked to the absence of a strategic and performance plan.
The gender and racial composition of staff at the Castle is a cause for concern. Whites are at the higher employment level, while Black employees (African and Coloured) are at the lowest employment levels. This requires closer scrutiny.
While the entity received an unqualified audit opinion for the period under review, the following should be noted: 1) quarterly reports were not submitted to the Department of Defence; 2) the Castle is not fully compliant with procurement and supply chain management policies and procedures; 3) a strategic plan has not been finalised; 4) it lacks a performance report against pre-determined objectives; 5) performance is not regularly managed or appraised.
Efforts by the Castle Control Board to realise the self-sustainability of the Castle and to improve governance and compliance standards are noted and will be monitored on a regular basis.
3. THE 2010/11 ANNUAL REPORT AND FINANCIAL STATEMENTS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE (DoD)
The 2010/11Annual Report highlights the impact that a limited budget has on the ability of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to maintain and sustain the core capabilities necessary to fulfil its mandate.
The DoD received an adjusted appropriation of R30.4 billion against a Budget Vote of R30.7 billion. Total expenditure against the Adjusted Budget Vote amounted to R30.3 million, resulting in an under-expenditure of R128.3 million, which included an amount of R220 000 earmarked for the Regular Force Medical Continuation Fund that had, at the time of reporting, not been transferred.
The Auditor-General expressed a qualified opinion on the financial state of the Department. The management of moveable and immoveable assets remain a cause of qualification. The Department could not provide sufficient appropriate audit evidence for the R76 billion disclosed, while “records did not permit the application of alternative procedures”. Emphasis of matter is due to the corresponding figures for operating leases for 31 March 2011 requiring restatement due to a technical error. as well as irregular expenditure to the amount of R799.3 million, which was not done according to National Treasury Regulations.
3.1 Performance across programmes
3.1.1 Landward Defence
The South African Army remains overextended, with particular concern regarding its overstretched infantry, engineering and support capabilities. Budgetary constraints negatively impact on the sustainability of prime mission equipment (PME), the maintenance of operational vehicle fleet, and the maintenance of required ammunition supplies.
The rejuvenation of the South African Army into an appropriately skilled, youthful and properly equipped service remains a challenge. Due to the lack of funding, limited number of Military Skills Development System (MSDS) could be accommodated during the period under review. Skills retention, age and health of soldiers thus are enduring challenges.
3.1.2 Air Defence:
While it is reported that the SA Air Force (SAAF) successfully provided air defence capabilities, generated 33 930 flying hours, and successfully supported the SANDF in external operations, operational readiness is not steady but fluctuates due to exceptionally high levels of force employment. It is reported that the overstretching of the workforce resulted in low performance of force preparation tasks..
Given the above, it should be noted that budget constraints hamper effective execution of the constitutional mandate, particularly with respect to the requirements within an acceptable force design. The SA Air Force could only partially meet targets set. The SAAF did not achieve the targeted flying hours. The helicopter capability sub-programme could not achieve targeted flying hours due to operational requirements which resulted in less force preparation (training). Rooivalk aircraft could also not be properly serviced due to protracted contract negotiations with the service provider.
The transport and Maritime Surveillance capability could not achieve targets. This is due to technical failures of aircraft and delays in scheduled maintenance. The number of mission-ready air-traffic controllers (64 daily) could not be achieved, as members failed fitness tests and could not complete initial training.
The SA Air Force has made slow progress in achieving transformation objectives. Of particular concern is demographic and gender representivity in the air-crew, technical and airspace control environments, supervisory levels, and middle management levels. Underfunding for the retention of technical skills, as well as the maintenance of infrastructure are persistent challenges. Obsolete equipment hampers operations and finite resources threaten the sustainability of combat systems.
3.1.3 Maritime Defence:
The South African Navy has achieved its targets for the period under review. However, critical challenges plague the SA Navy, particularly the shortage of specialist skills within the technical, combat, diver, submariner and logistic domains. The maintenance and upkeep of facilities and underfunding are enduring problems, particularly with respect to the facilities in the Simonstown area.
3.1.4 Military Health Support:
The South African Military Health Services struggle to fulfil ordered commitments, retain scarce skills, and renew obsolete equipment. The management of assets and expenditure remains a challenge; so too procurement and contract management.
As in 2009/2010, the shortage of health-care practitioners, deteriorating health-care facilities and unsuitable equipment hamper long-term sustainability of military health services. It is reported that the South African Military Health Services (SAHMS) cannot fund renewal projects from its operating budget, while facilities continue to deteriorate.
3.1.5 General Support
Inadequate and fragmented defence logistics, strategy, policy, planning, budgeting, systems, processes and skills resulted in a poorly managed asset management system. .Complete and accurate asset management registers that meet the requirements of the National Treasury are not in place, This programme therefore failed to provide appropriate, ready and sustained materiel, facilities, and movement and logistics services.
It is acknowledged that the Department has been working on longer term solutions to the above problem. These include the implementation of the Integrated Financial Management System (IFM). We note that the upgrade of the system is being done to address compliance with the disclosure requirements. A single compliant logistics information system remains a key outstanding matter, while much work has been done by the Joint Logistics Services to resolve audit qualifications
3.2 OVERVIEW OF 2009/10 BUDGET AND SPENDING TRENDS
For the 2009/10 financial year, the Department received an adjusted budget of R30.4 billion against a Budget Vote of R30.7 billion. The Defence Vote was decreased by R272 million through the adjusted vote. Additional funding of R2.5 billion was requested.
Total expenditure amounted to R30.3 million, resulting in an under-expenditure of R128.3 million, including an amount of R220 0000 earmarked for the Regular Force Medical Continuation Fund, which was not transferred.
3.3 AUDIT OUTCOME
The Department received a qualified audit opinion for the period under review. It is worth mentioning that the Department managed to steadily resolve audit qualifications, which decreased from six in the 2008/2009 financial year to one in 2010/11.
As in 2009/10, the Department failed to disclose financial information on moveable and immovable tangible assets. A properly maintained asset register is still lacking. Current internal controls and systems are not suitable to adhere to accounting standards as prescribed by National Treasury.
4. OVERVIEW OF 2011/12 BUDGET AND ALIGNMENT TO STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES
4.1 STRATEGIC PRIORITIES AND MEASURABLE OBJECTIVES
4.1.1 A strategic plan addresses a few key areas on which a department must focus in support of Government policy, as well as the strategies to achieve them. It is an important tool to achieve Government objectives, to address financial management and service delivery problems, and to ensure that services are delivered in the most economical, effective and efficient manner. The plans are both informed by, and designed to realise, the mandate of the department and to indicate how the allocated budget will be spent.
4.1.2 The Committee was mindful of the new reporting format, which separates the strategic objectives of the Defence Secretariat and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). Subsequently, the Committee received a briefing on the Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan of the Defence Secretariat only, while the tabling of the SANDF Strategic Plan, at the time of writing this report, was still awaited. According to the Department, this new format would better reflect that the Secretariat and SANDF were separate institutions with “distinct, yet complementary” mandates and would thus “be serviced differently”.
4.1.3 The Department translates its mandate into three core defence objectives which inform departmental priorities:
(i) The defence and protection of
(ii) The promotion of human security, both domestically and internationally, in order to contribute to freedom from fear and want; and
(iii) The contribution to a better life for
the people of
4.2. OVERVIEW OF STRATEGIC FOCUS AREAS
4.2.1 The Defence Secretariat’s work is underpinned
by two over-arching objectives, i.e. the protection of
4.2.2 Ten strategic priorities have been identified for the next three years. These are:
The strengthening of the SANDF’s Landward Defence capabilities;
respond to emerging maritime threats;
4.2.3 In order to achieve the above-mentioned, the following policies and strategies enjoy priority:
· A policy framework for the implementation of the Defence Act No 22 of 2010;
· The Defence Security Strategy that would complement the National Security
· The finalisation of Defence’s contribution to the National Crime Prevention
· The finalisation of the DoD Border Management Strategy;
· The National Youth Service Conceptual Framework;
· The establishment of a research function in the policy division unit;
· The review of the White Paper on Defence-Related Industries, as well as the
development of a Defence Industry Strategy;
· The drafting of a Defence-Related Public Entities Strategy;
· Assets and Facilities Management Policy Framework;
· Human Resource Development Policy and Skills Development Plan;
· Defence Fiscal and Defence Capability Framework;
· Armed Forces Day Policy Framework to facilitate armed forces interaction
with the public.
4.3. OVERVIEW OF 2011/2012 BUDGET
4.3.1 For the 2011/12 financial year, the Department of Defence and Military Veterans received R34.6 billion. This was mainly to be utilized for border safeguarding, the modernisation of the landward defence capabilities, improving the service conditions of soldiers, as well as the expansion of the Military Skills Development System (MSDS).
4.3.2 The 2011/12 budget process also focused on finding savings within the Department. The Department is expected to save R1.3 billion over the medium term, mainly sourced from non-core goods and services. These savings would fund the new remuneration dispensation.
4.3.3 A policy reserve would fund key Government priorities over the next three years. The SANDF will receive R600 million over this period, to fund the deployment of soldiers along the borderline and for the upgrade and improvement of facilities and equipment for effective borderline patrol. These allocations are as follows: R100 million for 2011/12; R200 million for 2012/13; and R300 million for 2013/14
4.3.4 The modernisation of the landward defence capabilities remains the biggest source of expenditure and received the largest share of the Defence budget (33.99%). Air Defence received the second largest allocation (24.59%), while the General Support programme is the third largest programme, receiving 11.27%. The latter received a smaller allocation, contrary to the much needed renovation, repair and maintenance of infrastructure and facilities that it is responsible for.
4.4 OVERVIEW OF ALLOCATION PER PROGRAMME
4.4.1 The Administration programme executes the Department’s overall management, administration and policy development. Its allocated budget increased by 3.82%. Office Accommodation sub-programme consumes 52.77% of the programme’s total budget. This sub-programme manages the payment of accommodation charges, leases and municipal services. The Military Veterans Management sub-programme has received the most substantial increase (116.46%) and will mainly fund the operations of the Department of Military Veterans.
Employment programme provides and employs defence capabilities to
successfully conduct all operations and exercises. Its budget allocation has
decreased by 6.28%. The sub-programme Regional Security is responsible for the
deployment of forces in support of
4.4.3 The Landward Defence programme provides
prepared and supported landward defence capabilities for the defence and
4.4.5 The Air Defence programme, which provides prepared and supported air defence capabilities for the defence and protection of the country, has seen the second largest increase of 16.65%. Funding for the Air Combat Capability sub-programme has increased by 130.22% and continues to consume the largest portion of the programme’s total expenditure at 28%.
4.4.6 The Maritime Defence programme provides
prepared and supported maritime defence capabilities for the defence and
4.4.7 The Military Health Support programme, which provides prepared and supported health capabilities and services for the defence and protection of the country, has seen a budgetary decrease of 4.75 per cent. The programme consumes 8.8% of the Department’s total budget. As indicated in the ENE, spending will mainly be on renewing of main medical equipment and upgrading of health facilities. The two largest sub-programmes remain Area Military Health Service (32.32%) and Specialist/Tertiary Health Service (31.19%). The Department’s 2009/10 Annual Report indicated that the critical shortage of health care practitioners continued to impact on the combat readiness of the SAMHS. It also indicated that the management interventions that have been introduced will only bear fruit in the medium to long term.
4.4.8 The Defence Intelligence programme provides a defence intelligence and counter-intelligence capability, and has seen a decrease in its budget of 2.78%. The programme consumes the smallest portion of the Department’s total budget – 1.93%. Funding for all three the sub-programmes has decreased. The Operations sub-programme remains the largest at 60.99%.
4.4.9 The General Support programme, which provides general support capabilities and services to the Department, has experienced the biggest budgetary decrease – 9.95% – of all the programmes in the Department. Despite this, the programme still remains the third largest at 11.27% of the Department’s total budget. The Joint Logistic Services remains the largest sub-programme and takes up 37.86% of the programme’s total budget; this is a significant decrease of 25.16%, considering the fact that the sub-programme aims to provide for the much needed renovation, and repair and maintenance of infrastructure and facilities. According to the Final Report produced by the Interim National Defence Force Service Commission, “the current infrastructure in the Department is both seriously inadequate and, in many places, in unacceptable disrepair and decay”.
In addition, the Joint Logistic Services sub-programme is also responsible for the reduction of logistic-related audit qualifications through the Logistic Intervention and Repositioning Programme (LIRP). This relates to issues raised by the A-G; especially the disclosure of financial information on movable tangible capital assets, intangible capital assets and immovable tangible capital assets, as well as the maintenance of a proper asset register.
4.5 ANALYSIS OF QUARTERLY EXPENDITURE REPORTS [To date, the portfolio committee’s method of work does not include quarterly evaluation of departmental spending and performance. This part of the report is therefore based on expenditure information supplied by National Treasury and quarterly expenditure information provided by the Department during the 2010/11 Annual Report interrogation. ]
4.5.1 For the first
quarter of the current financial year, the Department spent R7.2 billion or
20.8% of its allocated R34.6 billion. Force employment spent 470 million (20.3%
of its budget). This is due the SAAF support (chartered flights) provided
during peace- keeping missions, combating piracy in
4.5.2 Air Defence
spent 17.9% of its appropriated budget of R1.2 billion). This is less than
originally projected. Military Health Support spent 2.3% more than projected
due to spending on Compensation for Employees. Defence Intelligence spent 22.5
per cent or R150.7million – less than the R173 million projected expenditure.
5. COMMITTEE OBSERVATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1.1 As in 2009/10 financial year, the Committee remains concerned that the current defence budget is insufficient. Given the limited funding, the SANDF cannot meet its obligations and fulfil its mandate. Efforts to ensure that current limited resources are effectively directed to national defence priorities are commended.
5.1.2 The pace and quality of transformation in the SANDF requires closer scrutiny as it not only impacts on the morale and professionalism of soldiers, but also affects the Defence Force’s ability to meet its constitutional obligations. The current review and update of defence policy should therefore include a frank assessment of the implementation of defence transformation objectives.
5.1.3 The Portfolio Committee welcomes the recent establishment of the Defence Review Committee (DRC) and supports the important tasks of this body. We re-iterate that the finalisation of an updated defence policy is a long outstanding matter and the lack of a long term indication of the defence needs limited effective monitoring of defence activities. We anticipate greater interaction with the relevant stakeholders as a new defence policy is crafted.
5.2.1 Underperformance against set targets by each programme is attributed to funding constraints. The Committee therefore recommends that the budget allocation to the Department should be augmented. Sufficient funding must be allocated for effective border safeguarding, effective service delivery to military veterans, and the repair and maintenance of both facilities and prime mission equipment (PME). The Department of Defence should, within three months of the publication of this report, submit to Parliament a comprehensive assessment of the budgetary constraints and areas of underfunding. Based on this submission, the Committee will submit an additional Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report for adoption by the National Assembly and consideration by the Minister of Finance.
5.2.2 The Committee re-iterates that, in order for the SANDF to effectively undertake the monitoring and patrolling of the borderline, a sufficient number of soldiers has to be deployed to conduct foot, air and vehicle patrols. The SANDF’s readiness to patrol the border largely depends on the rejuvenation of the Defence Force to ensure that appropriately skilled and young soldiers are trained and ready for deployment. A comprehensive progress report on the implementation of Operation Corona, including a frank needs assessment and implementation challenges should be submitted to Parliament within three months of publication of this report.
5.2.3 The Committee stresses the need for a coherent and well co-ordinated strategy that would meet the immediate and basic needs of military veterans – interventions that would contribute to long-term self-sufficiency. The improvement of the socio-economic conditions of military veterans is essential, given the potential political and social consequences this may hold. For this reason, the Committee stresses that the Department of Military Veterans should become fully operational as a matter of urgency. Specifically, the publication of a strategic plan, a separate budget vote, as well as the finalisation of a policy on military veterans requires immediate attention.
5.2.4 Deteriorating conditions of facilities remains a cause for concern. These conditions not only impact on the morale of the SANDF, but could also threaten health and safety of our soldiers. We welcome the planned establishment of an in-house repair and maintenance capability and recognise the need for greater interaction with the Department regarding the specific repair and maintenance challenges, the planned management plans, as well as the budgetary implications. In particular, the Department should submit a progress report on the establishment of the Defence Works Formation and whether this formation has been staffed.
5.2.5 The creation of sustainable employment and professional development of young South Africans is important. We welcome the prioritization of National Youth Service, but caution that greater detail regarding this strategy, as well as the synergy between new plans and existing plans, is outstanding. We anticipate greater interaction regarding these matters throughout the financial year.
5.2.6 The Landward Defence Programme is severely overstretched in, especially, the infantry, engineer and support capabilities. It is clear that more funding is required to ensure the required upgrade of this programme. Such an upgrade is necessary to ensure that the South African Army can adequately meet its responsibilities. The Committee therefore recommends that quarterly progress reports regarding the upgrade of the Landward Defence programme are submitted to Parliament.
5.2.7 Noting that the South African Navy’s ever-expanding scope of responsibilities, particularly, the involvement in combating piracy and intensified patrolling of our sea-borders, the Portfolio Committee recommends that the funding allocation to this programme is adequately increased to allow successful execution of these responsibilities.
5.2.8 The Department’s efforts to resolve the existing audit qualification are commendable. The Committee, however, remains concerned about the non-compliance with National Treasury regulations. The continued strengthening of an internal audit unit is essential. Internal Audit committees play an integral role in ensuring that effective internal controls are in place, thus enabling departments to identify areas of weakness before they become areas of audit qualification. Asset management, too, remains a major challenge, and a source of qualification for the DoD. A strategy must be developed and implemented that will address the counting, verification, recording and documentation of all assets. The Department should brief the Committee, on a quarterly basis, regarding progress made with the resolution of matters raised by the Office of the Auditor-General.
6.1.1 Section 5 of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act (2009) compels the National Assembly, through its committees, to submit Budgetary Review and Recommendation (BRR) reports on the financial performance of departments accountable to them on an annual basis. The BRR report must be informed by a committee’s interrogation of, amongst others, each national department’s medium-term estimates of national expenditure, strategic priorities and measurable objectives, National-Treasury-published expenditure reports, annual reports and financial statements, as well as observations made during oversight visits. This report is essentially a committee’s assessment of a departments’ service delivery performance given its available resources, as well as the effectiveness and efficiency with which its programmes are implemented. Although BRR reports must be published at a specific time in the budget cycle, it is clear that the work that informs the report must be ongoing. Regrettably, progress made with the implementation of committee recommendations is an outstanding matter.
6.1.2 The Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans remains concerned over the ability of the SANDF to meet its obligations effectively within a limited budget. The recommendations made in this report are primarily aimed at addressing enduring audit qualification owing to poor asset control, while stressing the need for the alignment of the Defence budget with the Department’s mandate.
Report to be considered.