The National Assembly’s Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans has called for written submissions from “stakeholders and interested parties” on the Defence Amendment Bill (Bill 18 of 2017). The National Assembly is the lower house of the South African Parliament.
“The objective of the Bill is to align the Defence Act (No. 42 of 2002) with current Departmental organisational requirements to enhance the efficiency of the Department of Defence,” stated the Committee in its press release on Thursday. “Public hearings will be conducted in Parliament by the Committee on a date yet to be determined.”
The Bill had been passed by the National Assembly in November 2018. But the National Council of Provinces (the upper house of Parliament) had then made amendments to it.
Specifically, these amendments were to Section 103 (1), to bring it into line with Section 59 (3), regarding the number of calendar days a member of the South African National Defence Force would have to be absent without permission from their place or post of duty, in order to be dismissed or discharged. (The period is more than ten days.)
However, consideration of the Bill had not been completed when the Fifth Parliament was dissolved, prior to the general election in May. Consequently, under Rule 333 and Rule 351, the Bill lapsed.
In late October, the Bill was revived by the National Assembly. This followed a resolution which resumed the consideration of the Bill at the stage of it being referred to the responsible National Assembly committees, for examination and report.