The Co-Chairpersons of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence, Mr Cyril Xaba and Mr Mamagase Nchabeleng, welcome the new appointments to the Military Command Council, which follow the retirement of a number of Generals.
The appointments were made by President Cyril Ramaphosa in accordance with Section 202 of the Constitution. The appointments are welcomed in that they offer stability and effective succession planning, which is critical in ensuring that the defence force is able to deliver on its objective of defending and protecting the Republic, its territorial integrity and its people.
"It is important to acknowledge the exceptional leadership by General Solly Shoke, who has steered the ship since his appointment as Chief of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in 2011. Together with his leadership team, they have made themselves available for scrutiny through the oversight work of the committee. We thus wish General Shoke well as he prepares to retire end of May," said Mr Mamagase Nchabeleng, co-Chairperson of the committee.
Mr Xaba emphasised the importance of institutional memory and stability that the incoming military command brings to the council, as the defence force continues to face serious funding pressures. "While the challenges faced by the SANDF are many, especially with the budget shortfall, we have full confidence in the appointed leaders to effectively resolve those challenges."
The Chairpersons welcome the appointment of Lieutenant-General Rudzani Maphwanya as Chief of the South African National Defence Force. The committee has on a number of occasions interacted with Lieutenant-General Maphwanya and is confident that he is highly skilled and experienced to carry out his responsibilities. Above all he has proved that he submits to civilian oversight.
Similarly, the chairpersons are confident that the appointment of Major-General Wiseman Simo Mbambo, as Chief of the South African Air Force; of Major-General Siphiwe Sangweni, as Chief of Joint Operations as of 1 June 2021; of Major-General Ntshavheni Maphaha, as Surgeon-General with effect from 1 November 2021; and the appointment of Major-General Thalita Mxakato as Chief of Defence Intelligence as of 1 June 2021 reinforce the SANDF's capabilities and skills set. The Chairpersons wish them well in their areas of responsibility.
The Chairpersons have confirmed that upon assumption of their new responsibilities, the military command will be invited to Parliament to present their plans to deal with challenges facing the armed forces. The committee is hopeful that the new leadership will continue with the cordial working relationships with the committee.