Stop paying 'millions to protect ministers' and equip SANDF to protect borders - DA's Msimanga

2019-04-09 17:35
DA members protesting outside the Department of Defence in Tshwane. (Alex Mitchley/News24)

DA members protesting outside the Department of Defence in Tshwane. (Alex Mitchley/News24)

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The millions of rands allocated to protect ministers should rather be going to the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) so that it can be better equipped to protect the country's borders, DA Gauteng premier candidate Solly Msimanga said.

Msimanga and a small group of DA members protested outside the Department of Defence headquarters in Tshwane on Tuesday, pleading that the army be better resourced to protect the South African borders.

"We are not here to fight with the SANDF. In fact, we are on the right side of the SANDF, saying we want to fight the Treasury. Instead of protecting politicians, [government must] give you (SANDF) the resources so that you can go to the borders and make sure that you do what needs to be done," Msimanga said.

ALSO READ: Protecting South Africa's borders: Rocky roads and unrelenting conditions

"Instead of paying millions and millions to protect ministers, we should be giving you money to make sure that you go and do what needs to be done.

"Instead of buying brand new vehicles time and time again for politicians, we should be buying you vehicles so you can go and patrol the borders."

He said that his party's call to have soldiers equipped to patrol the borders was not xenophobic, but rather to ensure no undocumented foreigners enter the country. This will help put a stop to xenophobic attacks, according to Msimanga.

Not promoting xenophobia

"We are not promoting xenophobic attacks. We need to make sure we live in harmony and peace but the government's responsibility is to ensure that the borders are protected and anyone coming in is documented."

DA MP Jacques Julius, who has been travelling to border posts throughout the country, claimed that some soldiers were also concerned.

"Our SANDF is very poorly resourced; we have gone to all of our border posts and we have spoken to SANDF members. They told us, our lives are in danger here," Julius said.

"Our borders are porous and people are coming in and out. There are syndicates coming into the country, criminal syndicates and they are better equipped with ammunition than our own SANDF members."

Julius said that this was not a fight against foreign nationals, but against the ANC government that was playing cat and mouse with people's lives.

He claimed the ANC was aware of the documentation problem, but "they don't do anything about it".

Budget cuts affecting SANDF's capacity

Last year, the SA army chief, General Lindile Yam, warned that budget cuts at the SANDF could have an adverse effect on the army's ability to protect the country.

Yam cautioned that when the military doesn't receive the necessary funding, it cannot fulfil its constitutional mandate to fully protect the country.

According to Yam, the army was the easiest target for budget cuts and received less than 1% of the GDP, compared to the international norm of 2% of the GDP.

READ MORE: 'It's not a funky chicken jive out there' - SA army chief slams budget cuts as 'dangerous'

elections 2019

Read more on:    da  |  sandf  |  solly msimanga  |  pretoria  |  service delivery  |  military

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