Defence spend at largest bases


Estimates of National Expenditure (ENE) set out in the 2015/16 budget by finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene show what the spend at close to 100 SA National Defence Force (SANDF) bases will be over the next three years.

Top of the list of bases and listed by Treasury as being the largest SANDF unit is 1 Military Hospital in Thaba Tshwane. The flagship healthcare centre of the SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) is earmarked to receive just on R713 900 000 in the 2015/16 financial year with R707 000 000 coming its way in the 2016/17 cycle and R696 400 000 in 2017/18 for a total spend of over R2.1 billion in the medium term.

Naval Base Simon’s town is fleet headquarters for the SA Navy and is listed by Treasury as the second largest SANDF base. It will get and hopefully spend R1.46 billion over the medium term and the SA Army’s School of Infantry at Oudtshoorn, listed as the third largest unit, has been allocated a spend of R1.78 billion for the same period.
15 SA Infantry Battalion is rated number four in size terms by Treasury and this unit will receive R2.5 billion over the next three years to upgrade its base at Thohoyandou in Limpopo.

AFB Waterkloof, the SA Air Force’s centre of transport excellence, is rated the fifth biggest SANDF unit. It recently underwent a multi-billion Rand upgrade and will again be on the receiving end of National Treasury funding totalling R925 000 000 for the medium term expenditure.

Number six in size terms is 2 Military Hospital in Wynberg, Cape Town, where an upgrade of facilities is underway. The second largest healthcare facility in SAMHS is set to spend just over a billion Rand over the medium term.

According to National Treasury’s media management and communications section, the estimates of expenditure as set out in the ENE include salaries and wages, payment for goods and services, transfer payments as well as payment for capital assets.

Number seven on the list of largest bases is the General Support Base at Thaba Tshwane. This base, as its name implies, is responsible for support of all facilities and units in what is widely regarded as the military capital of South Africa. It has been allocated just under a quarter of a billion to ensure these are running and working for the next three years.

Another SAMHS unit – the Area Military Health Unit Gauteng – is number eight and it will be responsible for spending just on R870 000 000. Positions nine and 10 are filled by 7 SA Infantry Battalion at Phalaborwa (R687 690 000) and the Joint Support Base Garrison, another unit in Thaba Tshwane, which the Finance Minister has seen fit to give (R758 775 000).

Bottom of the list is the Personnel Services School with an allocation of R72,600.

Also in the bottom 10 are the Navy’s hydrographic vessel SAS Protea, which is due to be replaced by a new vessel; the SA National War College in Pretoria, and the SA Army College in Thaba Tshwane. No less than three SA Air Force squadrons feature in the bottom 10. They are 21 (AFB Waterkloof), 35 (AFB Ysterplaat) and 41(AFB Waterkloof).