SA sets in motion plan to preserve defence prowess

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Pretoria – Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula says her department has started implementing its plan to maintain the capabilities of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). 

Tabling the Defence and Military Veterans’ Budget Vote in the National Assembly on Thursday, Minister Mapisa-Nqakula said having completed the relevant plans, they are now implementing Milestone One of the Defence Review 2015, which is intended to mitigate the decline of the capabilities of the SANDF. 

“The primary focus is to address the serious mismatch between the current funding allocation to and the expectations placed on the Department of Defence,” said the Minister.

“As indicated in the Defence Review, the full implementation would imply a doubling of the current allocation from the fiscus over the long-term. In reality, the defence allocation has been declining by 5% per annum in real terms over the last 20 years to a mere 1% of the GDP [gross domestic product].

“Meanwhile, the appropriate funding level, as articulated in the Defence Review 2015, would require a steady state increase to at least 2% of GDP over time.

“Whilst there is great appreciation for the competing pressures on the fiscus, the persistent and continued dramatic downward trend in real terms of the funding allocation to defence has reached a point where the DOD [Department of Defence] runs the risk of losing more of its essential capabilities in addition to those already lost,” said Minister Mapisa-Nqakula.

The Defence Review Defence outlines the country’s long-term defence policy and strategic trajectory. It indicates that current levels of local defence spending have contributed to the defence force being in a critical state of decline.

Minister Mapisa-Nqakula said a closer relationship between the DOD and National Treasury is required to take the implementation of the Defence Review forward.

“To this end, the Minister of Finance and I agreed that an Inter-departmental Budget Task Team should be established.”

The Minister said work is being done in the following five streams to implement the Defence Review:

  • The first is focused on critical organisational and efficiency interventions that can be executed within the current resource allocation to Defence.
  • The second is to revisit the functional policies, strategies and plans that will ensure the implementation of Defence Review 2015. This, Minister Mapisa-Nqakula said, can be done within the current allocation.
  • The third is critical interventions that are focused on operational support systems that are required to sustain current operations. This requires additional funding in the form of an increase to the baseline R10.67 billion allocation to the SANDF.
  • The fourth addresses specific capital interventions to improve and renew priority capabilities required to execute current operational commitments. These interventions require additional funding in the form of a baseline increase of R8.96 billion.
  • The fifth are the interventions to maintain comprehensive defence capabilities in line with the constitutional mandate of the Defence Force. These interventions require an additional baseline increase of R35.44 billion.

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