The Parliament fire will have no impact on the work of the portfolio committees

The devastating fire that ravaged Parliament, although tragic in terms of the damage caused, should not affect the functioning of the vital component of its oversight committees.

By way of illustration, the shadow minister of defense and veterans of the Democratic Alliance (DA), Kobus Marais, points out that the meetings of the two defense committees – Joint Standing and Portfolio – in the last two years alone took place in the form of virtual platforms.

“There were weekly meetings of the Joint Standing Committee on Defense (JSCD) – a far cry from the previous Fourth and Fifth Parliaments, where meetings were infrequent rather than regular. It can certainly be said that the involvement of the JSCD has reached new levels during the different levels of lockdowns imposed in terms of national regulations on the state of disasters to limit the spread of COVID-19, ”he said. at defenseWeb.

Marais’s position is reinforced by a parliamentary statement this week which says that “the National Assembly has, since May 27, 2020, conducted its work in hybrid sessions due to COVID-19, with a limited number of deputies (deputies) meeting physically within the confines of Cape Town while remaining MEPs joined via a virtual platform ”.

This arrangement will continue until further notice, according to spokesperson Moloto Mothapo.

This approach will see the continuation of virtual meetings, starting on the 26th of this month (January) for the defense oversight committees. A control visit is also planned to Gauteng, in particular to the Thaba Tshwane metro and some of its many military installations, for the Portfolio Committee on Defense and Military Veterans (PCDMV) at the end of March.

From a business perspective, one of the first items on the agenda that the PCDMV will address is listed in its agenda as the “Ministerial Task Force Findings on the DoD’s Purchase of Heberon Drugs from Cuba. (Department of Defense) ”.

Other items on the PCDMV agenda between January and the end-March monitoring visit include the human resource requirements of the South African National Defense Force (SADF); design and structure of forces; audit action plans with performance, fraud, corruption and consequence management reports for discussion and recommendations.

The SANDF acquisitions in the form of the Biro (multi-mission coastal patrol vessels), Hoefyster (infantry fighting vehicle) and Hotel (new hydrographic vessel and ancillary equipment) projects will also be scrutinized with presentations from Armscor and Thandi Modise in his as Minister of Defense and Veterans Affairs.

The current ground condition of the SA Air Force’s (SAAF) hotspot – 2 Squadron’s Gripen jet fighters – is another thorny issue that the airborne service, the Secretary of Defense and the Department must explain to members of the PCDMV.

The JSCD holds its first meeting on February 17 with the filing of the long-awaited forensic report on the 1st military hospital and its many and varied tribulations. Further JSCD meetings during the first quarter will address transformation, morale and discipline within the national defense force as well as what the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) and ombud military have and plan to do.

The late March monitoring visit is, at this stage, scheduled to visit a number of military bases in and around Pretoria, including the Special Forces Headquarters; the Department of Military Veterans (DMV); “selected” Armscor facilities, probably Gerotek and Protechnik, as well as a workshop from the Thusano project, more than likely the Air Force’s main sub-depot (MOSDW), previously 4 Vehicle Reserve Park (4VRP ) at Wallmannsthal.

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