President Cyril Ramaphosa says several ideas are being explored to modernise the funding model of defence and reduce its dependency on the fiscus.
“The leveraging of the economic value of many types of assets of the defence force is under development, alongside improvements in the efficiency of the defence force and the rejuvenation of the defence human resources component,” President Ramaphosa said.
Speaking at the official opening of the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) 2018 Exhibition at Waterkloof Airforce Base in Pretoria, President Ramaphosa said South Africa views the role of the military in the modern context as a developmental force, both nationally and continentally.
“From a continental perspective, this approach implies that the South African National Defence Force ought to involve itself, with African partners, in peace missions to improve security in strife-torn regions,” he said on Wednesday.
President Ramaphosa said improved security attracts investment, encourages growth and promotes development.
In support of continental economic development, the President said SANDF forms part of the continental military intervention capability -- in the form of regional intervention forces -- as well as the centralised capability under the direct control of the African Union (AU).
From a national perspective, President Ramaphosa said the development role of the defence force necessitates involvement in border safeguarding.
“The rapidly growing, migrating and urbanising populations are putting economies under pressure,” the President said.
In terms of internal security, the defence force must always be ready to provide additional capacity to maintain order and stability within the relevant governance framework.
“A defence force that is a developmental force unlocks substantial peace dividends for States and effectively reduces the investment required in defence over time.
“For both security and developmental reasons, South Africa is looking after its defence industry, which is not only viewed as a Department of Defence asset,” the President said.
The Africa Aerospace and Defence Exhibition attracts exhibitors in defence technology and innovation from across the world and showcases the capabilities of armed forces.
Among other things, the event, which will run until Sunday, will showcase leading-edge commercial and general aviation-related technologies, products and related services offered by both local as well as international defence industry players.
The show programme will include aerial displays by the Silver Falcons, Gripens and Hawk fighter aircraft.
The exhibition is staged every two years and is the only aerospace and defence expo that combines both a trade exhibition and an air show.
This year, more than 300 exhibitors representing 37 countries are expected to take part in this year’s Africa Aerospace and Defence show.
The organisers of the show have invited 175 official delegations from 47 different countries, 90 of which are expected to attend.
The expo is also one of South Africa’s largest contributors to the country’s GDP in show years and is regarded as a national asset.
The 2016 event attracted 532 defence exhibitors from 34 countries, with 33 862 trade tourists visiting the show, which injected R1.14 billion into the economy. – SAnews.gov.za