Substantial drop in the SAAF budget


The SA Air Force’s budget for the 2016/17 financial year is R284 million less than it was granted by National Treasury for the previous financial cycle.

The Estimates of National Expenditure (ENE) show the airborne arm of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) will have to make do with R6 883 million in the current financial year to do its work.

This includes defending and protecting South Africa and its airspace by providing four helicopter squadrons and a combat support helicopter squadron as well as three medium transport squadrons (including one solely tasked with VIP transport), a lone air combat squadron, nine reserve squadrons and 24 hour air command and capability.

Air combat in the form of 2 Squadron and its Gripens based at AFB Makhado has been allocated R1.3 billion with air transport and maritime getting R672 528 000 to perform the major work of patrolling South Africa’s coastline and its exclusive economic zone as well as providing airlift both internally and continentally.

When inflation is taken into account it works out to a 10% decrease and means SAAF management is going to have to dig even deeper than previously to do the tasks assigned it.

Other centres of expenditure include operational support and intelligence (R314 million), command and control (R606 million), base support (R1.8 billion), the air force command post (R61 million) as well as a training capability (R570 million) and technical support services (R461 million).

Base support at R1.8 billion is the largest item of expenditure. It includes infrastructure for squadrons and units resident on the SAAF’s bases. These are AFB Bloemspruit, Durban, Langebaanweg, Overberg, Zwartkop, Ysterplaat, Hoedspruit, Makhado and Port Elizabeth. Facilities such as Air Force Station Thaba Tshwane, TEK base and the Mobile Deployment Wing at Snake Valley, now part of AFB Zwartkop, are also funded from the base support allocation.