The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans has expressed concern that the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is rapidly losing its capabilities. This situation was the result of repeated budget cuts.
These cuts had also hurt the SANDF’s acquisition programmes, which had, in turn, affected the local defence industry. “With the Defence Force in a state of decline, the country is losing its sovereign [defence industrial and technological] capability, something that will take many years to rebuild,” cautioned committee Chairperson Cyril Xaba.
Consequently, the committee had resolved to delay its discussions on the Department of Defence’s (DoD’s) plans to rejuvenate the SANDF and its personnel. Rather the committee will undertake in-depth discussions with the DoD on the situation of the SANDF and on how to save it from collapse.
The committee also adopted its report concerning the Department of Military Veterans budget vote. The committee had, in recent weeks, expressed concern about structural and systemic “challenges” in, and the strategic leadership of, the Department of Military Veterans.
As a result, Defence and Military Veterans Deputy Minister Thabang Makwetla had met with the committee. He had assured them that he would address the committee’s concerns.