Enough Budget Needed for Sustainable Defence Capability

Parliament, The Joint Standing Committee on Defence is concerned by the continued reduction of the budget of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), the reduction which compromises the ability of the SANDF to carry out its constitutional mandate.

The committee received a briefing from the South African Air Force (SAAF) and Navy components of the SANDF on flying and sea hours and the capacity to effectively utilise their assets.

The committee commended the men and women in the SANDF for continuing to ensure that the sovereignty of the country is secured notwithstanding the budgetary challenges faced by SANDF.

While the committee acknowledges the difficulties faced by the national fiscus due to dwindling revenue base vis-A�-vis competing social imperatives, it is of the view that a substantial investment into the military serves both the security of the sovereignity of the country and investment into the local defence manufacturing industry which will stimulate economic growth and job creation.

The committee has also highlighted its concern that it will not only take a long time to regain lost capability, but it will also cost even more than currently required.

We are facing a ticking time bomb. It is a matter of concern that SANDF plans currently are based on as resourced model, and not on Joint Force Employment Requirement. The consequence of the decline in budgets translates in decline in capabilities, something which if continues, will further cripple the ability of securing the country, said the Co-Chairperson of the committee, Mr Cyril Xaba

We view the South African defence manufacturing industry as a key growth point with a potential to bring in massive resources into the country, and induce economic activity. The adequate funding of the SANDF will ensure stability of the industry in that predictability will be ensured thereby enabling the South African industry to compete across the globe, argued Mr Mamagase Nchabeleng, who is the other Co-Chairperson of the committee.

Regarding the SAAF and the Navy, the committee has emphasised their importance in the security of the country, and enabling trade through anti-piracy operations along the Mozambican channel. As such, the committee has suggested the reprioritisation of funds towards capability upgrade, capital funds, and force preparation.

The committee has emphasised that action is urgently needed to stop anything that compromises the defence capability of the SANDF.

Source: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa