DoD/Treasury budgetary task team making progress


The proof of the pudding, if there is going to be any, will only be seen when the defence budget is tabled in Parliament next year but one initiative to get a larger slice of the national financial pie announced by the Defence and Military Veterans Minister is up and running.

Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula told the National Assembly in May there was “a serious mismatch” between actual funding for the Department of Defence and Military Veterans (DoDMV) and expectations placed on the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

She proposed a closer relationship between her department and National Treasury as the keeper of government’s purse strings.

This has happened, according to Department of Defence head of communications, Siphiwe Dlamini.
“The DoD/National Treasury task team to look at budgetary issues related to funding of the Defence Review 2015 and related matters has been constituted,” he said.
“Several meetings have been held, intense discussions have taken place and a range of information has been shared by the teams. The meetings have been positive and there is appreciation and understanding by both parties around and on the matters on the table.
“The meetings are overseen by both the Director-General of National Treasury (Dondo Mogajane) and the Secretary for Defence (Dr Sam Gulube) and are held between senior officials from both departments. There is progress,” he said, but did not give any detail of possible extra funding allocations and which areas, if any, had been identified by defence component as urgently in need of additional funding.

Speaking during her budget vote in Parliament in May, Mapisa-Nqakula said complete implementation of the Defence Review would imply doubling the current allocation from National Treasury over the longer term.

On the current financial year’s allocation of just over R48 billion she told MPs that defence’s allocation (from National Treasury) has been declining by five percent a year over the last 20 years to “a mere one percent of Gross Domestic Product”. To reach funding levels needed if implementation of the Defence Review is to go ahead would require “a steady increase to at least two percent of GDP over time”.
“The persistent and continued dramatic downward trend in real terms of the funding allocation to defence has reached a point where the DoD runs the risk of losing more of its essential capabilities in addition to those already lost,” she told the National Assembly.