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STATEMENT BY THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFECE REGARDING Member of the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans

Date of release 09 March 2012

The Department of Defence takes note of the comments by the DA MP and Member of the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans Mr David Maynier covered by the SABC new at 7pm about the Chief of the South African Airforce (SAAF) Lieutenant General Carlo Gagiano.

The DoD would like to state that all that was said about Lt General Gagiano is far from the truth and that this is the usual political grandstanding by the Mr Maynier. His statement is dismissed with the contempt that it deserves.

The fact of the matter is that the Minister raises valid and legitimate concerns with regards the sharing of information which might be classified in the Joint Standing Committee on Defence.

A good example of how Parliament can still exercise oversight and afford the public the degree of transparency is in intelligence where the JSCI operates. The founding act gives the committee whose members are vetted by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) - access to classified Information and Documents in the possession or under the control of a service, to the extent necessary for the performance of its functions, and on conditions that such information and records are handled in accordance with the existing security regulations. Committee members are required to undergo a security clearance process, managed by NIA.

It is legitimate for the Minister of Defence to request that the Joint Standing Committee on Defence has in place rules to protect sensitive and possibly classified information. This is in particular with regards to matters of operational nature.

Ends.
Issued by: Defence Corporate Communication
(Defence Media Liaison)
Pretoria
Enquiries Siphiwe Dlamini
083 645 4294