News24

R2.bn budget not enough, navy says

2012-03-15 16:15

Cape Town - The SA Navy has been given a budget of R2.4bn for 2012/2013, an amount which is still too low, budget officer Willem van Rooyen said on Thursday.

"The navy has been, at length, trying to indicate that we are underfunded," he told Sapa.

"However, this is well documented firstly, and secondly, the [defence] minister is fully aware of the underfunding."

The amount excluded a capital outlay of R56m, which was not controlled by the chief of navy. The previous financial year's budget was R2.27bn.

Van Rooyen said the aim was to spend 60% of the upcoming budget on human capital, and the remainder on operating costs.

Chief director of maritime strategy Bernhard Hein Teuteberg briefed reporters on the state of the navy at its Simon's Town base in Cape Town on Thursday.

He said the navy was small, but "first class", and able to meet all its commitments. Its four operational frigates and three submarines were still relatively new and "value for money".

Running marine equipment was, however, expensive. It required almost R89m a year to keep a submarine operational for 30 years. For frigates it was R194m a year.

"Are we, in terms of international norms being extravagant? The answer is a clear no," Teuteberg said.

Of concern were the offshore and inshore patrol vessels, which were between 15 and 32 years-old. He said they needed to be replaced.

He emphasised the importance of navy staff.

"Without the right people, the ship would be nothing."

Since 2008, we have managed to turn the story around. Each year we are gaining people, building a new navy."

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Comments
  • BacchusZA - 2012-03-15 16:21

    The Military Health Service is even worse off. Over 90% of the budget goes to personnel costs, even being understaffed, that's how small the budget allocation is.

  • Hunter - 2012-03-15 16:42

    We are not currently fighting a war or even facing a serious threat of aggression againts us,so scaling down on that side should be logical. Unless they want to deploy the navy to sort out the ilegal Chinese fishing trawlers next to our coast...

      Juan - 2012-03-16 03:21

      Did you not read the article of the Somalian pirates moving south?

      Devon - 2012-03-16 07:48

      So you'd rather allocate resources once we're already under threat of attack/invasion? The SA Navy does plenty about the illegal trawlers and whalers.

  • Gcwabe-KaMavovo - 2012-03-15 16:53

    Taxpayer yet again expected to keep afloat another sinking ship...

  • Joe - 2012-03-15 17:00

    "R89m a year to keep a submarine operational". Can someone please tell me when, whether in the past or in the future, we would ever need a submarine? What possible benefits could our country derive from one? (let alone 3)

      luytster - 2012-03-15 18:09

      In the(old)past Subs where used to deploy special forces into Africa in order to gather intelligence. These subs actually show no return on their investment now. They should be put to better use gathering info on illegal trawling on our coastline. I would rather that they sell these subs and invest in fast surface interceptors to catch illegal fishing boats. But then again the department of fisheries is run by a highly bribable cadre deployee so whats the use? Keep the gravy train rolling.

      Sharon - 2012-03-15 20:31

      It's because they keep overcharging the batteries!

      luytster - 2012-03-15 22:59

      Plug your charger into the wrong plug and you are sure to blow something. Pity the taxpayer has to pay for it though. Only in Africa.

      Sedick - 2012-03-15 23:38

      The subs were bought so that there was more money for backhanders for the Cadres pockets - Zuma, Modise, Sheik bros, Yengeni, ANC fund, Mandela fund, etc......and so that the idiots Cadres in the Navy could see what happens when you plug AC into a DC socket, and what happens when you ram a sub into a harbour wall.....

  • Carlton Bana - 2012-03-15 18:31

    The army is crucial to curb unemployed its said that SA is 'undermanned' for a lack of better term. It doesnt mean, because we are not at war right now, that we wil lnever be, what happens when a threat does arise who is going to work the subs. We SAns should start seeing the bigger picture instead of focasing in the here and now. The Navy and Airforce budget should be significantly increased.

      Juan - 2012-03-16 03:26

      I would agree very much, but only if senior members in government's exorbirant salaries and benefits are reduced.

  • braamc - 2012-03-16 06:45

    Van Rooyen said the aim was to spend 60% of the upcoming budget on human capital, and the remainder on operating costs. - the cost of BEE just doesn't end or pay off for that matter

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