Port Elizabeth will host one of the final public participation legs of the Defence Review process, initiated earlier this year by the Department of Defence, on Monday, 23 July at the Kelway Hotel.
South Africa’s current defence policy is premised on the White Paper on Defence (1996) and the Defence Review (1998). The require regular review and updating in order to ensure continued relevance and legislative compliance and it for this reason the then Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Honourable Lindiwe Sisulu, constituted the Defence Review Committee in July 2011 to review the current policy.
The draft Defence Review 2012 was made public by Sisulu on April 12 this year. A number of consultation events were conducted in the period leading up to the Minister’s Budget Vote on May 17. Thereafter the Defence Review Committee proceeded with the consultation process throughout the rest of South Africa, through provincial IMBIZO’s and stakeholder engagements which will end on July 28.The draft will be tabled at the end of August.
The public participation process will be facilitated by Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and the Department of Development Studies, home to one of South Africa’s foremost academic defence experts, Professor Richard Haines.
“Given that the previous Defence Review was published in 1998, this is not a frequent occurrence and optimal advantage should be taken of this Eastern Cape hearing,” said Haines.
“It is vital that the Eastern Cape take due cognisance of opportunities and development benefits provided by the Defence Review. It has a declared focus on development and security, and offers institutions, agencies, and interested individuals scope to make the case for a range of new emphases, orientation and interventions by the SANDF. There is a greater appreciation in the current document of providing for increased interaction and partnerships between the SANDF and other public, parastatal, private and third sector parties as well as individuals.”
The public participation process will feature presentations by the Department of Defence, inclusive of Roelf Meyer who was instrumental in drafting the document, local academics, the Eastern Cape Socio-Economic Consultative Council, maritime and tourism expert Peter Myles, and peace and conflict resolution expert Savo Heleta, amongst others. Organised business, trade unions, academics, civil society organisation have been invited.
The public are invited to attend the all-day event on Monday at the Kelway Hotel, starting at 8am.