Generals feast while soldiers starve

2013-10-17 10:06

Members of the top structures of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) were indulging in elaborate three-course meals while low-ranking soldiers had their daily meals reduced due to a lack of funds.

According to SA National Defence Union (Sandu) national secretary Pikkie Greeff, soldiers’ meals during some deployments had been reduced from three to two per day as a cost saving measure, Afrikaans daily Beeld reported today.

During the past financial year, the SANDF had already spent in excess of R1.2 million of its budget on entertainment, including three-course meals at weekly or biweekly meetings, the paper reported.

According to the latest Defence Review, the army had been so crippled by a lack of funds that it was no longer able to meet its constitutional obligations.

These included insufficient soldiers to guard the country’s porous borders, as well as new combat vehicles to replace the Samil, which had been in use for more than three decades.

It emerged from the recent budget that the army council (about 15 members), the army’s command council (about 35 members) and the sound board (between 10 and 15 members) – all based in Pretoria – had consumed a little more than R1.2 million in the name of “entertainment”.

Full three-course meals, consisting of porridge, two kinds of meat, such as chicken and beef, vegetables and two salads, followed by dessert, were served at meetings.

According to military expert Helmoed-Römer Heitman, the spending was “a little excessive”.

He said big corporations also spent money on lavish meals for their directors, but it was not taxpayers’ money, the newspaper reported.

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