Budget Speech 2006
READINESS MUST BE RELEVANT
The President of the Palestinian Authority,
His Excellency Mahmoud Abbas, will this
afternoon address us. His visit includes a
mission to tap into South Africa’s and other
relevant national experiences of conflict
resolution and maintenance of enduring and
This highlights the significance our national
profile has assumed in the search for peace in
Africa and around the world. It explains why,
together with the Department of Foreign Affairs
(DFA), we are now formulating a new White Paper
on International Peacekeeping. This White Paper
will draw mainly, but not exclusively, from our
accumulated experiences in peacekeeping.
RELEVANCE OF READINESS
Madame Speaker, this immediately brings us
face-to-face with the ever present question of
readiness of the National Defence Force.
In order the best to respond to this concern
we must ask the question: READY TO DO WHAT?
We must proceed from there because readiness:
(i) must proceed from the constitutional mandate
placed on our shoulders;
(ii) must be linked to challenges (unforeseen
sometimes) which might arise
(iii) flow from objectives that our government
must achieve and
Madame Speaker, it is my submission this
morning, that the National Defence Force is not
only ready but will continue to be readier in
the year (and years ahead).
READY TO DO WHAT?
In so far as national security is a function
first of diplomacy and secondly of the military,
we are ready beyond our borders and shores to
reinforce all diplomatic missions our nation
undertakes. We are busy with this critical
Since the democratization of our country and
the consequent isolation of our nation from the
community of nations, RSA made a paradigm shift
from the mentality of the apartheid years. We
think now with the mind of a free nation at
liberty to participate with other nations of the
world. We not only enter but are welcomed as a
partner in all fora. Consequently, our planning
knows no bounds!
But we are not drunk with the excitement of
this dawn of a new era. We proceed into the
wider world with the necessary prudence of one
who understands the limitations of their
situation and therefore especially that
priorities have to be chosen carefully.
In this paradigm Africa remains the priority
and central area of focus in the conduct of our
foreign policy initiatives: Therefore we are
ready to reinforce continental and regional
structures, in particular, the African Union
(AU) and the Southern African Development
In this regard, we are working closely with
DFA on a programme to strengthen bilateral
relations in execution of the Cabinet decision
of 2002 to ensure representation in each African
The Department of Defence (DOD) is already
busy working to match DFA’s ambassadorial
postings with our own postings of Defence
Attaches (DA) in order to provide sorely needed
defence input in the arsenal of diplomatic work.
To date the DoD has deployed fourteen Defence
Attaches in Africa. We intend to catch up with
the diplomatic postings of DFA and then keep
pace and are planning to increase this number so
that by the end of 2008 we will have a total of
29 defence attaches on the Continent.
READY TO DO WHAT?
We are ready to support South Africa’s goal
of promoting peace, democracy and good
governance in the continent!
Stability is key to the attainment of this
goal and that is why the National Defence Force
carried out the mission to secure Barundi
leaders, and led the African Union Mission in
Burundi (AMIB). After the recent democratic
elections in that country, the SANDF continues
to sustain the burgeoning democracy there.
As institutions of governance firm up, the
economy of that country revives and national
life normalizes, the SANDF will be withdrawn and
be available for deployment in new areas of
May I take this opportunity to inform the
House that the Ministry shall, in the near
future, approach the President of the Republic
and (Commander-In-Chief of the National Defence
Force) to take time and pay tribute to the
members who made the Burundi mission the proud
success it is today.
We are ready to continue to support the UN,
through MONUC deployments, to sustain the
stability of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Yes, Madame Speaker, we are relevantly ready,
as indeed we are already at work, to help secure
elections and promote democracy in the DRC by
finalizing the integration of the armed forces
of an emerging unified and democratic DR Congo.
We, in collaboration with friendly countries,
have already registered and identified more than
six battalions of that country’s forces in
preparation for the security of the Presidential
Elections on the 18th June
In keeping with the SADC commitments we are
giving all necessary support to the SADC Organ
in order to ensure that sister regional
countries not only own the process but actively
make available what additional support may
become necessary for the success of the DRC
Madame Speaker, very recently, Cabinet
approved the deployment of South African troops
to the Comoros to secure the holding of true and
fair elections there. The Command of the
National Defence Force promptly ordered the
deployment of some 371 troops to that country.
Madam Speaker, we are ready and are
supporting stability missions in Darfur, Eritrea
and Ethiopia. Presently the National Defence
Force is already assisting the reunification of
the armed forces of the Cote D’Ivoire through
technical advice to the AU Mediation team as
well as to the Chiefs of Staff as to how to go
about the Disarmarment, Demobilisation and
Reintegration process (DDR).
In all of these missions the National Defence
Force has deployed in these theatres of conflict
and tension, some 3,293 men and women, together
with the concomitant equipment.
But the readiness of the National Defence
Force has to be measured also in terms of its
We exist for the purposes of executing
successful missions. The success of its
operations is the only way in which the
Department of Defence is assessed and judged by
our Government, other Governments, and the
In this regard, I place on record that the
Chief of the SANDF, General Ngwenya last week
returned from a tour of the operational areas,
in an upbeat mood.
He reported that he met the UN Special
Representative in Burundi, the Chief of Staff of
the Sudanese Armed Forces, the UN Force
Commander in Sudan, the AU Ambassador in Sudan,
the overall Commander of the MONUC forces in DRC
(1,218 South Africans), and Brig-Gen Satya,
brigade Commander in the DRC.
Gen Ngwenya reports that without exception, all
these individuals attest to the outstanding
contribution National Defence Force members have
made and continue to make.
I quote from his report:
“2 SAI Battalion Commander, Lt Col Sereko was
singled out for praise for being a leader who
ventured into territory where no other nation
was prepared to go. The discipline of the RSA
forces was also mentioned as exemplary.”
What must further be placed on record is that
National Defence Force is ready to act, not on
behalf of, but together with other countries of
our region and continent. To this end we are
ready to expand joint training and joint
military exercises with other regional defence
We must open up on this front in order best
to capacitate our neighbours so as to enable
them to join with us in future missions of the
region and of the continent.
Added to this is our abiding responsibility
to strengthen SADC headquarters and other
relevant structures by both seconding staff and
Our relations however, with sister regional
states is a two way process. We have begun to
benefit from the Regional Peace Center in
Harare, Zimbabwe, which is a SADC institution.
Our Air Force has recently welcomed six
Zimbabwean Air Force Pilots and six Zimbabwean
Air Force technicians to assist us with the
training of our own young people.
We have seconded a full time military officer
to serve at the United Nations HQ in the
Department of Peacekeeping Operations. The
United Nations is an important area of operation
for South Africa. On broader defence issues
there is a lot of interaction between the
different countries of the world. It is also an
important forum for us to put forward our views,
and to listen to the views of others.
With all the successful deployments of the
SANDF, we are ready to sustain the Continental
peace processes because they must eventually
lock into the NEPAD process of development. We
are at all times working to ensure that peace is
sustained and that our achievements are not
These peacekeeping operations are conducted
and managed in such a manner that the
possibilities of peace are firmly laid.
We are indeed ready and breaking new ground
every day both on the Continent and in the
region. Our work with SADC is progressing well,
and we are now in the process of seconding full
time officials from the Department of Defence
into SADC and its Inter State Defence & Security
Committee structures in order to build our
regional capacity and empower these structures.
We have begun a process of seconding officials
from the Department of Defence in the Peace and
Security Committee of the AU.
The SADC Brigade, the regional component of
the Africa Standby Force, is moving according to
plan and we are hoping it will be fully
operational by the middle of 2006. The
functioning of this Brigade will be a great step
forward in the development of SADC.
Our Constitutional mandate also directs that
the “defence force must be structured and
managed as a disciplined military force.
It must be capable of training and preparing
men and women who will be imb