Parliament is concerned about the reduced budget of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), which is impacting its constitutional mandate to protect the country.
In a meeting on Thursday (12 September), the Joint Standing Committee on Defence said that a substantial investment into the military was needed for both the security of the sovereignty of the country.
The committee also highlighted its concern that it will not only take a long time for the SANDF to regain lost capability, but it will also cost even more than currently required.
“We are facing a ticking time bomb. It is a matter of concern that SANDF plans currently are based on ‘as resourced model, and not on Joint Force Employment Requirement,” said the co-chairperson of the committee, Cyril Xaba.
“The consequence of the decline in budgets translates in decline in capabilities, something which if continues, will further cripple the ability of securing the country“.
To combat these issues, the committee encouraged re-investment into the country’s defence industry.
“We view the South African defence manufacturing industry as a key growth point with a potential to bring in massive resources into the country, and induce economic activity,” said Mamagase Nchabeleng, who is the other co-chairperson of the committee.
“The adequate funding of the SANDF will ensure stability of the industry in that predictability will be ensured thereby enabling the South African industry to compete across the globe.”
Regarding the South African Airforce and the Navy, the committee emphasised their importance in the security of the country, and enabling trade through anti-piracy operations along the Mozambican channel.
As such, the committee has suggested the reprioritisation of funds towards capability upgrade, capital funds, and force preparation.
The committee also emphasised that action is urgently needed to stop anything that compromises the defence capability of the SANDF.