The South African (SA) army is under strain and cannot meet its national and international obligations due to financial woes.
The army chief Lieutenant General Vusimuzi Masondo released a statement regarding the financial situation of the South African Army (SA). The increased need for the army to assist on the African Continent rises constantly and with a limited budget, the burden grows. The national and international demands take the toll on the resources of the army, especially with the extended periods requested for their services abroad.
During the month of March, fourteen South African soldiers died, with almost thirty casualties, following a clash with rebel fighters in the Central African Republic (CAR). After this incident, the soldiers returned to SA. It is extremely likely that the cost of this operation caused a deficit in the army budget.
There is an indication of an intervention task force preparing for an operation in the turbulent Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Several other African countries will contribute to this action including Malawi. The Minister related to the casualties in that country and gave assurance of heeding the CAR incident to incorporate a lesson learnt and properly prepare the army before undertaking future operations.
It is a known fact that the Army purchased several fighter planes, and are called on first by the African countries to assist with operations on the continent, which do not have the highly advanced equipment and this definitely can bare a great burden on the finances of the army.
The astronomical amount paid for planes, submarines and warships purchased over the past several years are currently not operational. It is a fact that these sophisticated planes are not able to land in many of the African countries and using the older planes for this purpose. How we wonder will the army get our people out of a neighboring country in an emergency with the old outdated planes.
With a huge budget, the SA Defense force cannot meet its obligation to support a unique and effective defense system.
The South African Defense force will no doubt cancel some of the commitments to neighboring countries, like assisting with the Zimbabwe elections among other unnecessary campaigns to ensure there is enough money to sustain the army in an emergency.
Written by – Laura Oneale