Finance Minister Tito Mboweni pointed to the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Project Koba-Tlala as an example of improving state efficiency when delivering his Medium Term Budget Policy Statement.
In his address to the National Assembly, he named ten “growth ingredients” to help put the South African economy back on track. Number one is an efficient and capable state.
“We are making progress on improving the efficiency of the state,” the Finance Minister said giving the SANDF and its rations budget as an example.
“The SANDF buys more than R900 million worth of food a year. Operation Koba-Tlala (Chase away the hunger) is a deliberate action to buy this food from nearby suppliers,” Mboweni told parliamentarians.
Koba-Tlala is an initiative approved and encouraged by Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. Its central tenet of upskilling Reserve Force soldiers enabling them to be productive components to the wider South African society when not in service, either internally or continentally, comes from the large number of part-time soldiers who have no other income apart from what they earn while in uniform.
The North West province was selected as the launch site for Koba-Tlala because it is home to a good number of military bases in the Potchefstroom area. In collaboration with the University of North West and provincial government, work started with the establishment of communal food gardens which would supply fresh produce to nearby military messes.
Koba-Tlala has since expanded into other agricultural sectors including livestock and hydroponics.
The Koba-Tlala drivers, under Director SA Army Reserves Brigadier General Gerhard Kamffer, are also working on upskilling in the security sector. In this regard Reserve Force soldiers were deployed to guard water infrastructure on the Vaal River from vandalism and theft during the Vaal River project, led by the SA Army Engineer Formation.
Project Koba-Tlala is an SANDF contribution to the National Development Plan (NDP).