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STATEMENT BY THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFECE REGARDING the deliberate misrepresentation of fact by some media organizations

Date of release 09 March 2012

We read with dismay the deliberate misrepresentation of fact by some media organizations that have created the impression that the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans has gagged the Chief of the South African Airforce from accounting to Parliament. This is despite being assured by the Head of Communication yesterday during an interview with some that that was not the case.

The Minister has time and again stressed that she is accountable to Parliament and that Parliament has determined how such accountability is to be effected. Evidently some of the journalist had written the story and had no intention to present the facts as they are. There is a demonstration and concrete effort by some in the media to mislead the public on the defence and to malign and portray the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans in a negative life.

We want to reiterate what we said yesterday and that is the fact of the matter is that the Minister raises valid and legitimate concerns with regards the sharing of information which might be classified in the Joint Standing Committee on Defence.

A good example of how Parliament can still exercise oversight and afford the public the degree of transparency is in intelligence where the JSCI operates. The founding act gives the committee whose members are vetted by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) - access to classified Information and Documents in the possession or under the control of a service, to the extent necessary for the performance of its functions, and on conditions that such information and records are handled in accordance with the existing security regulations. Committee members are required to undergo a security clearance process, managed by NIA.

It is legitimate for the Minister of Defence to request that the Joint Standing Committee on Defence has in place rules to protect sensitive and possibly classified information. This is in particular with regards to matters of operational nature.

Ends.
Issued by: Defence Corporate Communication
(Defence Media Liaison)
Pretoria
Enquiries Siphiwe Dlamini
083 645 4294