Poor security at military bases and units flagged by Defence Force Service Commission


The lack of security at South African National Defence Force (SANDF) military bases is of “serious concern”, as is the deterioration of security fences within military bases and on the borders, the Defence Force Service Commission (DFSC) has said.

SANDF human resources chief Vice Admiral Asiel Kubu presented these and other DFSC findings to Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Defence last week.

His presentation noted poor security at military bases and units, such as no movement and entrance control at military units, bases and accommodation facilities and guards that are not adequately armed.

“Security fences within military bases and units and on the borders are falling apart. Budget constraints hamper the upgrading, maintenance and repair of security systems. Unauthorised occupation and the subletting of military accommodation (married and single quarters) are compromising military security. Security systems cannot be repaired or maintained due to expired contracts,” DFSC findings read.

Border security is compromised during the two week Change of Command and rotation of soldiers while the damage done to border fencing from 2013 and during floods had not yet been repaired by the Department of Public Works (DPW), the Joint Standing Committee on Defence heard. Border security is also affected by an insufficient number of personnel being deployed within Operation Corona (this tasking was meant to have more than 20 companies on the borders, but funding constraints have limited this to 15).

Other findings reported by the DFSC included increasing levels of crime and theft being reported at some units, and the fact that suggestions, complaints and concerns raised in post operative de-brief sessions remains unattended and unresolved.

The address these issues, the DFSC recommended a complete review of all security matters, i.e. gates, doors, locks, burglar proofing, electronic equipment and alarms, at respective facilities be carried out; and fences and security be urgently upgraded as a military imperative.

A proper post review structure and security system needs to be prioritised and implemented to safeguard facilities; compulsory and proper security and awareness training is needed for all guards and security personnel; compulsory musketry and self-defence exercises are required for guards and security personnel; and security personnel should be adequately armed with weapons, ammunition, torches and bullet-resistant gear.

The DFSC went on to state that contracts for the maintenance and repair of security systems at military units must be reviewed to investigate the possibility that maintenance and repair can be done in-house. Guards and security personnel should be trained in proper crime intelligence methods in order to anticipate and prevent criminal incidents, and military areas, bases and units, i.e. Thaba Tshwane, should be completely fenced, with proper entry and exit control to ensure that no unauthorised person/s enter the area.

In response, the Department of Defence said security guards are being trained and continuously perform drills to keep them current, and with its limited resources, the department “is currently doing a lot and will continue with security awareness campaigns.”