SANDF hard-pressed to respond to civil events

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Defence and Military Veterans Minister, Thandi Modise, says the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) will be hard-pressed to respond to critical events due to a severe shortage of resources.

Modise said this when she tabled the department’s Budget Vote during a mini plenary of the National Assembly on Tuesday.

“Honourable Members will remember that we have a dire shortage of critical equipment currently, not to speak of future disasters and continuous climate change events, for example tents, water purification and distribution systems are critically low. Serviceable airframes and flying hours are also in a critical state.

“I must inform this House that the SANDF will be hard-pressed to respond to critical events in other provinces should the need arise. I state this with a very heavy heart – we are willing, but we lack resources.

“Unless there is a significant intervention – the cupboard will remain bare,” she said.

Modise said over recent years, the SANDF has been called on to support civil interventions to ensure the delivery of basic services to the citizens of the country, and this is over and above the force’s contribution to African peace missions.

“We have assisted the North West province with health services, the Department of Water and Sanitation with the Vaal River clean-up project, the National Disaster Management Centre called on the SANDF to assist during the COVID-19 pandemic and we are still involved in the KwaZulu-Natal flood relief.

“The deployments speak to our responsibilities and there is no way we cannot be at the centre of saving lives.”

She said the deployments also come at great cost to the equipment and funding of the SANDF. “There is often little or no re-imbursement delivered. This puts the SANDF under great pressure.”

Operation Prosper a success

In July 2021, there were incidents of civil unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

Modise said properties and businesses were damaged and looted, and the target areas were malls and businesses.

“The SANDF worked in cooperation with SAPS to quell the unrest and to restore law and order. We deployed plus or minus 15 000 members of the SANDF, to quell the unrest. Operation Prosper was successful and was lauded by the citizens and business across the country,” she said. –