The Department of Defence is not a major beneficiary of state funds in Finance Minister Trevor Manuel’s Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) tabled in Parliament yesterday.
The document shows the combined defence and intelligence budget climbing just 7.8% between this year and 2012.
The DoD`s current annual report notes that Defence Update 2025 requires the budget to increase from R30 to R40 billion in 2011 to create a “credible force design” by 2030.
A raft of analysts polled by defenceWeb thought this was unlikely to materialise in the current local political climate and the ongoing international financial crisis.
The MTBPS shows government spending will climb by a third from this year`s R6.29.3 billion to R965.3 billion by FY2011/12, meaning an average annual growth in state expenditure of 9.5%.
The document puts this year`s revised defence and intelligence budget at R29.5 billion, and postulates the budget for the DoD as well as the intelligence establishment over the medium term as follows:
FY2009/10 R34.6 billion
FY2010/11 R35.6 billion
FY2011/12 R37.4 billion
Defence ministry spokesman Sam Mkhwanazi took an upbeat view, however. He says Defence Update 2025 must still go to Cabinet for approval. It is thus premature to say that the Treasury will not in future increase the defence allocation.
The Update paints a bleak future for the SA National Defence Force should the desired funding not be forthcoming.
The MTBPS also provides a rare opportunity to assess the intelligence budget funding the Ministry of Intelligence Services and the intelligence agencies, to wit the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), SA Secret Service and Comsec.
Former Intelligence Services minister Ronnie Kasrils put the 2004/5 budget at R1.978 billion. It was the first and last time the ministry`s budget was publicly disclosed. A reading of the MTBPS, however, puts the ministry`s current budget at R2.42 billion and next year`s at a slightly lesser R2 billion.
Parliament last week decided to set aside until next year legislation that would create a South Africa electronic intelligence gather agency equivalent to the US National Security Agency or the British Government Communications Headquarters. The National Communications Centre currently exists within the NIA but the draft legislation foresaw it becoming a separate government department or service.