The South African military machine needs more money – MPs


Both the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) have made it clear South Africa’s military needs to be properly funded if the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) is to act effectively in the best interests of citizens and be an instrument of foreign policy for government.

Speaking during the defence budget vote debate in the National Assembly, Pieter Groenewald, the FF+ defence spokesman, said the lack of finance for the SANDF coupled to the lack of political will to ensure the necessary levels of finance for the military were the two biggest problems facing the force.

DA shadow defence and military veterans minister, David Maynier, pointed out that nowhere during its myriad meetings with stakeholders and scrutiny of public submissions had Roelf Meyer’s Defence Review committee met with National Treasury to discuss the affordability of its recommendations.
“They conducted 436 meeting but never met with National Treasury. The former minister (Lindiwe Sisulu) for some reason forgot the iron law of public policy making – ‘you cannot do what you cannot fund’ – and prohibited any discussion on this matter with the National Treasury,” he told MPs.
“We cannot sit back and ignore the hard questions about the financial implication of policy documents in Parliament,” he said in support of a proposal that Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula withdraws the Defence Review for a six month period.

Maynier wants this time to be used for an independent audit of cost estimates used in the Review as well as consulting with National Treasury as regards affordability. He sees Parliament being presented with a properly costed and affordable revised Defence Review, together with a military strategy and long term defence development plan, after this.
“We must ensure the Defence Review succeeds so that the defence force succeeds,” he said.

Groenewald said it was time that the ANC government realised the defence minister’s request for a budget of two percent of Gross Domestic Product was essential if the SANDF was to continue successfully executing tasks internally and continentally.

He also pointed out requests for increased funding were going to be ignored as long as, to give one example, Gripen fighters were in storage and not being used.
“Treasury will say the defence force did receive funding but didn’t use it correctly.”