Call for Ramaphosa to intervene in SANDF prime mission equipment debacle


Revelations of just how badly off the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) is as regards much of its prime mission equipment prompted a call for President Cyril Ramaphosa, as force Commander-in-Chief, to intervene urgently.

The call by Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow defence and military veterans minister Kobus Marais follows a presentation to the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) by Armscor, the State-owned defence and security acquisition agency.

“South Africa’s airborne and maritime military fleets are falling apart,” Marais said, noting one of four frigates and none of the SA Navy’s three submarines are serviceable.

“When it comes to the SA Air Force (SAAF), only 46 of 217 aircraft, including 27 of 87 helicopters, are serviceable. The unserviceable list also includes aircraft from the VIP squadron (21) as well as the grounded Gripens and most of the PC-7 Mk II trainers at Air Force Base (AFB) Langebaanweg.

“In fact, almost all the prime mission equipment acquired in terms of the Strategic Defence Procurement Package (SDPP), better known as the Arms Deal, is on the unserviceable list,” he pointed out, adding “if, in the unlikely event South Africa has to launch a meaningful defence, it would be unable to rise to the challenge.

“The time has come for Presidential intervention as the air force and navy are sitting ducks.

“South Africa’s porous borders and political turmoil in neighbouring countries with terrorism in Mozambique at the top of the list are all issues that should concern government – South Africa cannot idly sit by and hope for change.

“Decisive action must be taken and urgently. It is time the President, the ministers of Defence, Finance and Public Enterprises as well as Chiefs of services and the national defence force intervene to stop the near total destruction of military prime mission equipment,” is his plea.