In addition to the more than R160 million spent on the ill-fated Central African Republic (CAR) deployment and support for it earlier this year the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) expended R126 202 990 there in the previous four years.
This emerged in a written reply to a question asked by FF+ defence spokesman, Pieter Groenewald, in Parliament.
He wanted to know from Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula the bilateral operations South Africa was involved on the continent in and the individual costs for the years 2009 to 2012.
Operation Vimbezela in the CAR, to provide training and protection, was the highest followed by Operation Copper, the ongoing anti-piracy tasking in the Mozambique Channel, at R150 854 115 for the years 2011 and 2012.
Costs supplied by the Minister for other bilateral operations were Operation Senoko and Operation Teutonic, both in the DRC, where the spend was R116 998 778 and R33 762 317 respectively.
With the exception of Operation Senoko, in support of elections in the DRC, all other expenditure came from the budget allocated to Mapisa-Nqakula’s department by National Treasury Groenewald said. The Senoko budget also involved the Department of International Relations and Co-operation.
“There was no involvement from either the AU or the UN in these deployments which is an indication the SANDF cannot use sufficient of its resources internally.
“At least some of this money that was spent on continental deployments could have been better utilised in country, for example on training and border protection,” Groenewald said.
The Stilfontein-based MP has long maintained the National Defence Force is losing its professionalism due to a decline in training standards.
As recent examples he pointed out the lack of logistic and intelligence support for the CAR deployment that end abruptly with the Battle for Bangui in March this year and the crash of an Agusta light utility helicopter in the Kruger National Park in April.
“These are both indicators of a dropping of standards that cannot only be laid at the door of a lack of discipline. They point to a problem with the standard of training.