Finance Minister allocates another half a billion to defence


Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene this week boosted the Department of Defence (DoD) war chest by just over half a billion when he delivered his medium term budget.

In March Nene allocated R44,549 billion to Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula’s department to run the SA National Defence Force, the Department of Military Veterans, Defence Intelligence and other entities falling under the Department of Defence and Military Veterans.

On Wednesday in the National Assembly he indicated the funds had been allocated to defence briningg its appropriation for the current financial year up to R45,088,161,000.

In the Adjusted Estimates of National Expenditure (ENE) the Finance Minister indicates “most of the performance of the DoD is on track to be achieved against set targets”.

The single largest beneficiary of the additional funding will be the SA Air Force (SAAF) which will now be able to fly its set target of 6,500 hours for the 2015/16 year.
“Four thousand one hundred and sixty-two hours will be added to the number of force employment hours flown in the second half of the financial year to meet the set target,” Vote 19 of the Adjusted ENEs states.

According to the latest DoD annual report the SAAF flew 5,026 force employment hours in the 2014/15 financial year. This was 444 more than in the 2013/14 financial cycle but the additional funding now made available will see the air force log at least another 1,400 hours more than in 2014/15 before March 31 next year.

The maritime arm of the SANDF, Treasury acknowledges, has a low number of sea hours – “only 3,070”. This is due to delays in repair and maintenance of vessels but is expected to increase over the next six months. The original estimate of hours at sea for the 2014/15 year was set at 12,000.

The mid-year performance status for the DoD does not make any changes in targets set at the start of the financial year.

In terms of outcomes – “Create a better South Africa, a better Africa and a better world”, “A skilled and capable workforce to support an inclusive growth path” and “all people in South Africa are and feel safe” – all 10 indicators are on track.

The indicators apply to the total number of defence attaché offices; the number of military skills development (MSD) members in the system per year; the number of Reserve Force man days; percentage compliance with the SADC standby force pledge; percentage compliance with ordered commitments (internal operations); joint inter-departmental, inter-agency and multi-national military exercises; land sub-units (companies) deployed on border safeguarding; force employment hours flown and number of hours at sea.