National Assembly debate on SANDF requested


The continually declining state of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) has prompted a parliamentary motion from a Democratic Alliance (DA) parliamentarian.

Kobus Marais, who oversees the official opposition’s defence and military veterans portfolio, submitted a motion with notice to the National Assembly.

He states: “The decline in capacity and capabilities of the SANDF and defence readiness of the SANDF has reached critical levels. Urgent action is required prevent non-compliance with Section 200(2) of the Constitution, which deals with the protection of our sovereignty and assuring the safety of our citizens.

“On behalf of the DA I will introduce at the next sitting of the house a debate of strategic national importance on the type, size, capacity and capabilities of the SANDF South Africa needs, deserves and which is sustainable in the medium to long term.”

His motion follows oversight visits by Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Defence to, among others, AFB Ysterplaat and SA Navy fleet headquarters at Simon’s Town. The committee also heard presentations from SA Air Force (SAAF) Chief, Lieutenant General Zakes Msimang and Vice Admiral Mosiwa Hlongwane, SA Navy Chief. The commanders of both services painted a bleak future if proper funding was not forthcoming.

Similarly, SA Army Chief Lieutenant General Lindile Yam told a July media briefing the landward force was also suffering from the effects of short-funding. He said the landward defence component of the Army budget was R16 billion and it needed R33 billion to properly fulfil its mandate in this regard.

The Joint Standing Committee said after the air force and navy presentations it was “concerned by the continued reduction in the SANDF budget which is compromising the force’s ability to carry out its constitutional mandate”.

“We face 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 to a decline in capabilities, something which if it continues, will further cripple the ability of securing the country,” Cyril Xaba, co-chair of the committee, said.