Bloemfontein - The long-awaited Defence Review should be finalised before Parliament dissolves ahead of the May 7 elections, President Jacob Zuma said on Friday.
Speaking at an Armed Forces Day event in Bloemfontein, he said much consideration and time had gone into the document.
Earlier this week, Secretary for Defence Sam Gulube was reported as saying he was “unsure” whether the current Cabinet would receive the review, or whether it would be submitted to the new Cabinet formed after the elections.
Zuma on Friday suggested it would be received by the current Cabinet.
“Much consideration and time has been put in this work as we have now reached the final stages for Cabinet approval,” he said in a speech prepared for delivery.
“It is my view that these should be finalised, in the context of the current Defence Review, before the end of the term of office of this government.”
As commander-in-chief of the SA National Defence Force, Zuma said it was his duty not just to ensure the preparedness of the country's military forces, but also the well-being of those who served in them.
“We should pay attention, with equal enthusiasm and focus, to the other task of a commander, which is to ensure the well-being of your soldiers,” Zuma said.
“The conditions under which our soldiers serve should not compromise their ability for such service, and should recognise the unique nature of the sacrifice they make to this country. We need to take care of our soldiers.”
In this regard, he had held a series of meetings with Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and military commanders to look at this and other areas of support required in the future by the SANDF.
“I am pleased with the overall plan that has emerged to address the various limitations, including on the issues of budgets, currently affecting our ability to take proper care of our soldiers,” he said.
A defence review committee - tasked with providing a new defence policy to replace the 1998 Defence Review - was appointed by former defence minister Lindiwe Sisulu in 2011. The new review was originally intended to have received formal approval at the end of 2012.