Army bakeries are “bizarre”


A decision, seemingly taken by the command of the SA Army Support Formation, to set up on-base bakeries is “bizarre”.

This was how Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow defence and military veterans minister Kobus Marais reacted to the opening of Army bakery number six in Potchefstroom.

“Creating a chain of bakeries, which could potentially constitute irregular and wasteful expenditure, is bizarre,” he said, adding Minister Thandi Modise would “shortly receive a letter asking for a full explanation”.

“The DA acknowledges the cash-strapped SANDF (SA National Defence Force) is confronted with many operational challenges but opening bakeries is not a solution. Bakeries are outside the SANDF mandate and potentially open the force to irregular and wasteful expenditure of already limited funds.”

The bakeries will reportedly supply bread to units in the area of responsibility of the general support base (GSB) they are located in. The Potchefstroom bakery will supply SA Army units in the North West city and will reportedly seek other outlets, including the SA Police Service (SAPS) and civilian retail businesses, for its product.

defenceWeb has unconfirmed reports of “army bread” being sold at R20 a loaf, well above the normal retail price. Comments posted on defenceWeb are against “army bakeries” with one pointing out a better price – and probably product – is available from commercial bakeries.

It appears that in addition to supplying bread to military bases and units, the bakeries also look to other “customers” in the form of police and local residents. Supplying products to the public could result in the SANDF being in breach of rules and regulations.