Mr A.G. Matila (ANC-Gauteng) to ask the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans:
Whether her department has taken any steps to upgrade the facilities of defence force members in the (a) training bases and (b) accommodation places; if not, why not; if so, (i) what progress was made and (ii) how much has been spent thus far?
We are engaged in extensive upgrading of our facilities and to just mention a few, we are dealing with two military hospitals where we had to upgrade them. We are dealing with SA Military Battalion base in Mpumalanga etc. In all, I think that we prioritised about 10 projects.
As of this year we have budgeted for an average of R425 million to deal with the upgrading of our facilities. I need to indicate to the member that unfortunately, we are tied in a relationship where we are dependant on the Department of Public Works, to do all the repair work and maintenance for the Department of Defence. We are hoping that we can move towards a situation and the relationship with the Department of Public Works, where they will understand that it is possible for us to upgrade our own facilities. We are working on a Memorandum of Understanding in that regard.
We are hoping also that from this year, we can put aside R1 billion which have been given to us to deal with upgrading of our facilities and annually we can put aside R1 billion for the next 15 years. If we are all still here in the next 15 years, we would have the kind of the state of the art accommodation in the defence force that I think they deserve, that is what we have budgeted for.