SA Army budget up


The South African Army is the single largest component of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) and receives the lion’s share of the overall defence budget as the major contributor to the various taskings assigned to the South African military machine by its political masters.

This sees its budget for the 2016/17 financial year increased by just under half a billion Rand to R15 651 438 000 from the R15 202 376 000 voted to it by National Treasury in the previous financial year.

Overall the landward defence programme accounts for 34% of the Department of Defence’s total medium term budget.

One of the biggest increases (14.9%) will come into effect in the 2017/18 financial year and the medium term, for the new Badger infantry combat vehicle; development of a mobile water provisioning system as well as a mass field feeding system and establishing a new command centre for anti-aircraft capability.

Over the medium term about 6 000 regular and Reserve Force members will be trained annually for deployment in the border protection tasking Operation Corona. Two more companies will be added to the overall deployment in the 2016/17 financial year, bringing to 15 the number deployed on South Africa’s landward borders with Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. A total of R3.6 billion has been budgeted for border protection in the medium term.

A total of R4.6 billion has been budgeted for peace support operations. This figure was finalised before South Africa decided to withdraw from the hybrid AU/UN peace support mission in Sudan. Expectations are changes to this portion of the defence budget will be addressed by Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula during her budget vote in the National Assembly.

Other peace support missions South Africa has committed to are the UN’s in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO), where Lieutenant General Derrick Mgwebi recently took over as force commander, and two general military assistance operations in the DRC (advising and assisting that country’s armed forces) and Mozambique (support in counter piracy operations).

The SA Army’s infantry capability is the single largest item of expenditure at R6 208 million followed by its support capability at R4 424 million.