Tight defence budget will not affect deployments – CSANDF

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The officer in overall charge of personnel in the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) and the force chief are in agreement deployments will continue – externally and internally – notwithstanding another tight budget announced last week.

Delivering her budget vote address to the National Assembly, Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise asked parliamentarians to approve R49.09 billion for the SANDF and other entities residing in her portfolio. This, a recent presentation to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) heard, is a R26 billion underfunding.

Speaking at a SANDF Human Resources Division communication period last week, Vice Admiral Asiel Kubu referred to Modise’s budget vote speech saying she was “clear” the amount allocated was “not enough to carry out the mandate (of the national defence force)”.

The senior human resources officer is reported by a Lieutenant Msibi of Human Resource Corporate Communication as saying the Department of Defence (DoD) faced “constraints” but these would not affect operational deployments.

“The deployment in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mozambique will continue on a bigger scale. The guarding of our borders will also be carried out,” he is reported as telling the Human Resource Division communication period at the Pretoria Military Sports Club.

His views were echoed by SANDF Chief General Rudzani Maphwanya. Speaking on Sunday at the SA Army’s De Brug mobilisation centre during a commemorative event to honour South African peacekeepers, the SABC has him saying South Africa’s and the SANDF’s contribution to peace missions is “paramount”. This is despite “resources not being enough”.

The government broadcaster reports further the SANDF continues to “enforce peace” in northern Mozambique where “conflict persists and threatens stability of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region”.

“Peace in Mozambique will also benefit the region. When we contain the problem there for it not to permeate and trouble you. People will go about their daily lives, but if we sit back that problem will affect us,” SABC editorial staffer Aphumelele Mdlalane reported.

Support for Maphwanya came from Deputy Defence and Military Veterans Minister, Thabang Makwetla. Also at De Brug he is reported saying: “The success of our involvement in Mozambique will not only be military. Our deployment is peace enforcement and it is our desire that the military intervention will bring about stability”.