No light at the end of the SANDF funding tunnel


That the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) does not receive sufficient funding is widely known and at least two Parliamentarians have asked Defence Minister Thandi Modise for information on the defence budget as well as returning the force to “competitive” status.

In a written question to the Minister, EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters) MP Tseko Mafanya asked, in view of “ageing and outdated military hardware” if there are immediate, short or long term objectives to return the SANDF to “desired standards” and ensure it is a competitive force able to execute its mandate.

The Gauteng-based parliamentarian was informed “South Africa’s fiscal position hardly allows implementation of the Defence Review 2015 at its level of ambition”.

If implementation did happen, Minister Modise sees “beyond doubt” the SANDF would have the “gravitas” needed to be “unchallenged” in the African battlespace. This could occur if and when development funding, via the Special Defence Account (SDA), is resumed. Modise also tells Mafanya when this happens it “would allow” research and development. SCAMP (Strategic Capital Acquisition Master Plan) funding “would at least allow continued basic maintenance and funding of the upgrade”.

Mafanya was further informed that the SANDF force development plan was the “next deliverable” and presently under development by South Africa’s military policy strategy and planning “practitioners”.

“Capability development will be prioritised in the current baseline until the resource situation improves.”

Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow defence and military veterans minister Kobus Marais raised similar issues when asking Modise about progress on “engagements” with National Treasury for more money.

Has Cabinet decided how the defence budget challenges and deficit will be addressed, he wanted to know from the Defence and Military Veterans Minister.

Her written response was a zero in terms of answers saying only “engagements on the budget deficit are ongoing and at present there are no new developments to report”.