The members of the Reserve Force Council (RFC) and its affiliated Junior Officers’ Association (JOA) who participated in the workshop, together with the Chief of Corporate Staff of the SANDF, Lt Gen Vuzumuzi Masondo and the Chair of the RFC, Maj Gen Keith Mokoape (Ret) and other guests.
Over the period 25 February to 1 March 2018, the RFC held a Strategic Workshop at a venue in the picturesque Muldersdrift area of Gauteng. This was attended by the RFC Regional Chairs, Councillors as well as some members of the RFC Association and the Junior Officers’ Association (JOA).
The planning group received various relevant briefings and presentations before dividing into working syndicates, led by experienced Councillors, each syndicate looking at specific portfolios within the Council.
It proved to be a beneficial undertaking, with important aspects emerging from the discussions and the planning. These will now be put into effect in the coming months.
CLOSING REMARKS BY CHIEF OF STAFF OF THE SANDF DURING THE RESERVE FORCE COUNCIL WORKSESSION
Chairman of the Reserve Force Council, Maj Gen (Ret) Keith Mokoape,
All Generals who are present here, this afternoon:
Maj Gen (Ret) Sedibe Brig
Gen Del Monte
Brig Gen Alexander
Brig Gen Mathibe
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is my honour to be standing in for the Chief of the South African National Defence Force, Gen Solly Shoke, who couldn’t be with us this afternoon. We are, somehow, in a state of flux with many contending priorities. Nevertheless, we are able and capable of maintaining the aim of the South African National Defence Force. It is for this reason that the Chief of the SANDF has entrusted me with the responsibility to represent him in this important gathering.
In a course of three days, you have gathered and discussed key issues that affect the Reserve Force System. It is indeed a mammoth task that cannot be done and dusted in a matter of three days. We are aware of challenges relating to Young Lions, Siyandiza, Sea Cadets as well as the URTP programme. The challenges are numerous and our pressing need is to, at least, draw a strategic response to alleviate their impact, in the short to medium term.
The work streams you have been participating in must continue beyond this work session so that, over time, the ideas can be converted to concrete practical steps that can be operationalised for the benefit of the country and its citizens.
For instance, you have pondered on the question of collaboration and assistance to the Defence Works Formation and how that could be linked to the issue of human settlements. It is a central and an essential point considering the numbers of unemployed people who do not have shelter. The Reserve Force Council through initiatives like this can go a long way to show to the South African public that we are not only the consumers (from the fiscus), but we contribute to the wellbeing of communities. I am encouraged to note that in this work session you have tried to assess the utility of the Reserve Force and, by extension, the SANDF in the context of peace time within our country.
In that regard, I believe that we ought to push the boundaries outwards in order to contribute more and more in communities within the republic. So, I think the idea of a CIMEX is most welcome and opportune for us. Through such exercises we could be better prepared and equipped to render support to the people of South Africa. It may not be the most pleasant thing to do, but we have to keep demonstrating to South Africans that our utility
in peace time is worth their investment.
Today we face three pressing challenges: the ageing Prime Mission Equipment, diminishing budget, and the high wage bill. We must then learn to do more with less. Without fail, we send forth our members to fight fires, assist in floods and give support to police when required.
The work that the RFC is doing to develop research capacity and data for military involvement in communities is welcome. Its work involves guiding government departments to formulate and structure their requests for assistance to the DoD & MV at their own cost. Your continued involvement with tertiary institutions and private sector and encouraging them to get involved in national security issues is set to pay off handsomely. Any cause that has support of civil society is sure to succeed.
Let us keep in mind always the “one force concept". All the organs that form the SANDF strive towards one aim and they cannot operate in silos. It is, therefore, encouraging that in the material that I have seen about this work session I have seen that you refer to the fact that reserves and regulars are indivisible. That is the spirit we want to nurture and encourage.
We inevitably serve each other’s’ interests since we exists as entities within the department. It is our hope that your profile will rise and that your reach will extend to other places we have not yet engaged. For instance, we have not yet evolved a concept of how we would like to engage the SADC region even if it is for benchmarking.
We are looking forward to see the outcomes of this work session in presentations to the MCC or in some form of formal report that can be perused. We want to be able to draw lessons from this great effort that you have made here during this work session.
I thank you