Defence Force Service Commission opens a satellite office at SAS Wingfield

By S Sgt Itumeleng Makhubela
Photos by Mr Whitney Rasaka

The Defence Force Service Commission (DFSC) opened its satellite office at the SAS Wingfield Military Base in Goodwood Cape Town. The Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Ms Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said the office will be an extension of the reach and services that the DFSC is meant to provide to the serving members of the SANDF and will be able to operate from outside its headquarters in Pretoria.

The DFSC finds its origins in the new administration which came into office in 2009, starting as an interim DFSC headed by Judge Boshielo and several Commissioners. Since it was an interim DFSC, to make it permanent there were amendments to legislation to ensure it has a full mandate.

This saw its mandate realized in terms of Section 62B of the Defence Amendment Act 22 of 2010. This mandate was to make recommendations regarding the improvements of salaries and service benefits of members on an annual basis, policies in respect of service conditions, and also the promotion of measures and setting standards for effective implementation of policies.

Minister Mapisa-Nqakula said: “The DFSC continues to undertake visits to the various units of the SANDF and these have yielded fruit in that there's now a much better understanding and exposure to the conditions of service of members of the SANDF. At the same time, some of the areas identified for improvement have coincided with the observations that the SANDF has itself made, and commitment to address these. 

We are here because today marks the realisation of an idea which was conceived in 2013, which was to establish the DFSC office in Cape Town and whose role and function would be to cover the southern provinces of the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and the Northern Cape.”

She said the satellite project office unveiled has two pillars that include the DFSC administration office and the memorial wall which is a site of heritage depicting and wishing to create greater appreciation of the SANDF and promote patriotism. She said that it should also serve to expose and promote the various skills and competencies within the Defence Force.

“I wish to state that the milestone achieved today must serve as an inspiration to the DFSC - that despite the teething problems and challenges, hurdles can be overcome with the dedication and resilience of the DFSC leadership, Commissioners and Staff.

For this to be even more successful, the SANDF for its part needs to foster an even closer and supportive role with the DFSC. The two entities are well within the defence establishment, each with their clearly defined roles and responsibilities.” Minister Mapisa-Nqakula remarked.

In the period of its existence the DFSC had undertaken a number of projects within its mandate that ranges from de-linking salary from rank for members of the SANDF, inputs into the Defence Act amendments, and inputs into the 2015 Defence Review amongst others.

Minister Mapisa-Nqakula said she has also approved the policy on the Awarding of Death Benefits to beneficiaries of members and employees who pass away while deployed in internal or external operations for which no international compensation is paid.

Chairperson of the Defence Force Service Commission, Professor Edna Van Haarte said the theme of the event was putting the spotlight on the multiple skills the soldiers have. She said SANDF members have many talents as they also provide humanitarian assistance in the country and outside its borders.

She said: “Although we are three years in existence I am very proud to say that we have seen over 20 000 members face to face, and that is a significant number of soldiers. As a commission we recently returned from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the operational areas and came back feeling proud of the professionalism displayed by the deployed members.

SANDF members have a great reputation in the DRC and sometimes their success becomes a challenge because civilian moves after them. This presents a problem as it gives off their position and sometimes rebels take it out on civilians as they cannot confront them.”

Professor Van Haarte said anyone in that country can admit that South African soldiers are the ones doing the hard work.

She the pilots have a fantastic reputation in operations in the DRC as they go in deep forest where nobody dares.

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