Defence force is our insurance - officer

2013-08-30 22:46
Willie Seriti (Picture: Sapa)

Willie Seriti (Picture: Sapa)

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Pretoria - The defence force is a country’s insurance and serves as a deterrent against any possible threats, the Seriti Commission of Inquiry heard on Friday.

"Since 1994 up to date, we do not detect any direct military threat to the Republic of South Africa," SA Air Force (SAAF) deputy chief Major General Gerald Malinga said.

"We haven’t detected any country that plans to invade South Africa but it doesn’t mean the country is free from threats."

He likened the defence force of a country to life insurance, saying despite being healthy, many people took out life insurance cover because no one could predict the future.

The same thinking should be applied to the defence force. Malinga urged people to look at things differently.

About 21 countries in the world did not have defence forces but these countries were in defence pacts with other countries or were assured by other countries.

"Other than that, every country has a defence force, specifically for the reason I mentioned - a defence force is a country’s insurance," he said.

"Today as we sit here, there are many wars around the world."

Other threats

The defence force was also used against threats, such as organised crime, drug smuggling, poaching, human trafficking, and other criminal activities.

It worked with police and customs at borders to protect the country.

The defence force also had the capability to respond to disasters and threats.

"It would be very, very unfortunate if this country decided to scrap the defence force," he said.

In his official statement, Malinga said the absence of a "clearly defined military threat" did not mean the defence force had no "requirements of rejuvenation".

He said the mandate of the force stated that it should have a force design able to execute its mandate.

"Threats usually appear unexpectedly and do not always allow for long lead times to acquire combat systems, which include the equipment and competent operators."

Earlier, Malinga went through the defence force budget and said it was often cut depending on threats to the country.

President Jacob Zuma appointed the commission, chaired by Judge Willie Seriti, in 2011 to investigate alleged corruption in the 1999 multi-billion rand arms deal.

The inquiry resumes on Monday at 09:30.

Read more on:    saaf  |  jacob zuma  |  willie seriti  |  arms deal

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