Newly appointed national defence force Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Lindile Yam, added patriotism to the list of why the South African military should be better treated when it comes to funding.
The man who headed the largest component of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) – the SA Army – bemoaned the lack of funding on a number of previous occasions. This focused, more often than not, on the lack of progress in providing the landward force with a new fighting vehicle. The vehicle is the Badger and its acquisition is a fait accompli via Project Hoefyster, which has suffered the ill-effects of state capture at defence and technology conglomerate Denel.
Yam deputised for SANDF Chief, General Solly Shoke, at the medal parade staged at the Armscor sports ground last week. He told recipients of 20 and 30 year service medals they showed “a high sense of duty, discipline, self-confidence and character” in their service not only to the SANDF but also to South Africa.
On the 25 years the SANDF has been in existence, Yam said milestones were reached, all made possible by the exploits of hardworking men and women “like the patriots on parade today”. He called the medal recipients the fuel driving the programmes of the SANDF.
Looking ahead the new SANDF Chief of Staff told the parade there was still much to be done as far as putting the recommendations of the Defence Review into effect.
“Most of the hold-up, as we all know, lies with restrictive funding. The challenge with adequately funding the Defence Review to enable the SANDF to achieve the milestones it sets emanates from the predicament of declining budget allocations to the military amid National Treasury’s balancing act to equitably apportion the limited fiscal pie across all government service provision responsibilities.
“The Department of Defence (DoD) is faced with the grim reality of competing for funds with other government departments that render essential services and our low economic growth is not helping,” he said.