The Department of Defence generated R385 million this year from reimbursements from the United Nations and the sale of equipment and spares and this will be spent on the South African National Defence Force’s (SANDF’s) peacekeeping commitments and implementation of the 2015 Defence Review.
This is according to the Adjusted Estimates of National Expenditure 2019, published this week by National Treasury. Under self-financing expenditure, the document states that revenue of R385.140 million has been generated from reimbursements from the United Nations for South Africa’s contribution to peace support operations, and the sale of equipment and spares procured through the special defence account (SDA).
“This will be returned to the vote from the National Revenue Fund and will be used to cover the operational costs related to the department’s participation in the peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), as well as one-off critical elements of the 2015 South African Defence Review.
“Of this amount, R62.703 million will go to the Landward Defence programme, R1.828 million will go to the Air Defence programme, and R320.609 million will go to the Maritime Defence programme.”
For many years, expenditure on UN peacekeeping contributions came from the defence allocation, but reimbursements went to the fiscus. When it was time to service equipment leased to the UN, the SANDF had to do those repairs and servicing with its own budget.
Following meetings between the Ministry of Defence and National Treasury, it was agreed that UN reimbursement funds would not go to the general fiscus any more, but would be ringfenced for servicing SANDF equipment.
Jabulane Mulambo, National Treasury Communications Officer, earlier this year said the Department of Defence retained UN reimbursement revenue of R182 million in 2015/16, R335.4 million in 2017/18 and R509.5 million in 2018/19 as a self-financing expenditure.
In October it emerged that South Africa forfeited more than R54 million in UN reimbursements due to the unserviceability of prime mission equipment. According to defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, R397 million was billed to the UN for personnel (R251 million), self-sustainment (R61 million) and main equipment (R85 million). Actual reimbursement received was R232 million with R110 million still due by the UN and R54 million forfeited.
Elsewhere in the Adjusted Estimates of National Expenditure 2019, it was revealed that defence expenditure in the first half of 2019/20 was R24.3 billion, 47.7% of the adjusted appropriation of R50.9 billion for the year. Compared to the first half of 2018/19, expenditure over the same period in 2019/20 increased by R2.1 billion, 9.6 per cent. This was mainly due to increased spending on the compensation of employees, which amounts to R29 billion for the year.
The mid-year budget document reported that the Department of Defence had 3 295 Military Skills Development Members in the system, had used 1.3 million reserve force man days (out of 2.7 million budgeted for the year), 15 companies deployed on border protection duty, had flown 8 943 hours towards air defence (out of 17 200 allocated for the year) and spent 4 028 hours at sea (out of 10 000 for the year).