SANDF combat readiness below par - DA

2010-11-09 17:10

Cape Town - The combat readiness of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) is not up to par, Democratic Alliance MP David Maynier said on Tuesday.

Speaking in the National Assembly during members' statement time, he revealed further extracts from a leaked copy of an interim report of the national defence force service commission.

The report has not been made public.

"On combat readiness, the interim report found that it is possible that the level of combat readiness in the SANDF is not quite as good as it should be," Maynier told MPs.

Last week, quoting from the same document, he told the House that morale was so low in the SANDF it "could even threaten state security", a comment that drew a sharp rejection from Defence and Military Veterans Minister Lindiwe Sisulu.

"The bad conditions of service that David Maynier refers to that he says is a threat to national security is lies being spread to discredit the SANDF and its leaders for political gain.

"We reject the lies and ongoing campaign by David Maynier to negatively project the SANDF. It is a known fact that he hates the SANDF and will do anything to bad mouth and spread lies about the organisation," her ministry said in a statement.

Housing ridiculous

On Tuesday, Maynier said Sisulu appeared to have "blown a political gasket". She was trying to persuade South Africans that all was well in the defence force.

However, the report showed service conditions in the SANDF were totally inadequate.

"On service conditions, (it) found that salaries of junior members are totally inadequate, and forced them to live in informal settlements far from their places of work, and that the effects of transport costs significantly dilutes their incomes, leading to social, psychological and family crises.

"The salary situation is so poor that some members state that they would rather have their right to vote revoked in lieu of non-payment of personal income tax.

"The housing allowance is regarded with ridicule, at R500 per month, because it cannot serve to cover bond repayments, and members are not able to get bonds through the commercial banks, given their poor salary levels," Maynier said.

Responding in the House, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor said Sisulu had taken "extensive steps" to address the challenges she had encountered when she took over the portfolio.

"We have to acknowledge the steps she has taken to improve... the conditions of service, the status of the defence force, and the provisions the defence force require in order to carry out its work," Pandor told members.

Maynier, who serves on Parliament's defence portfolio committee, vowed last week that he would not allow the reports' contents to remain hidden.

"Using successive members' statements, I will read extracts from the interim reports. These will show not only that the defence force is in deep trouble, but that the minister misled the Speaker, misled this Parliament, and misled the people of South Africa," he said at the time.

  • Anton - 2010-11-09 18:07

    The SANDF is nothing more than a welfare orginasation, I can understand that the orginasations beneficiaries are not happy with their grants, but I cannot understand how it can be a thread to national security? If we are under thread from another country or orginasation we should get a private company like ADT involved or a privateer like Mike Bolhuis. The SANDF would use a thread to national security as an excuse to demand more grants and would anyway run away when the shooting starts. They have never been combat ready and will never bee. I actually feel safer without a good defence force, because they will probaply be used against South-African citizens eventually most properly to sort out the oposition.

  • muttasm - 2010-11-09 18:14

    We all know that the SADF is far from operational. Nothing new here. It is so obvious when you drive past a military base and see the condition of the soldiers and the state of the equipment that is being used.

  • richard.hipkin - 2010-11-09 18:57

    Having visited by old army base recently I was shocked at the I saw. Soldiers do not even salute their superiors, their dress is sloppy, their shirts hanging out. There is no pride there...

  • steven.m.armour - 2010-11-09 19:29

    Department of non defence.The military bases are disgusting.There is no more fefence force here.

  • eddie.mcfarlane - 2010-11-10 07:25

    I left The SANDF 2009 for better working conditions and pay after 20 years service i could not bare the SANDF anymore,no money building falling apart, always battling to get promoted and be accepted on course,when you get to a training base the accommodation is very bad i believe if the pay and conditions where better the soldiers pride would come back, most of us were unable to buy house's unless your rank was higher to get a better wage to be able to qualify for a bond these days. the medical service has also gone down very much and most Military hospitals are now training hospitals and also you battle to see decent doctors and surgeons,i had three operations on my wrist and they just made it worse now i'm sitting with a weaker wrist than before i had the operation I.E substandard care all around

  • jameswsleigh - 2010-11-10 17:47

    The Defence minister and her cronies are systematically destroying the countries biggest asset and lying to the public in the process. Now this is a controversial subject, as many people will argue that defence is a waste of money blah blah blah, however to those that are more enlightened will shudder at the current situation we South Africans now face. My apologies for the length of this article as I’ve included a number of extracts from various documents and it could become a tad boring. There are currently around 5000 SANDF troops serving in Peace keeping operations in hot spots around the world. Our equipment is depleted, soldiers are too old and under skilled. There is a total disregard for their welfare, and to have seen soldiers toy toying in the streets last year, was deplorable to say the least. Those members are now being fired, and what do you think that will do for the moral of the remaining troops? Lindiwe Nonceba Sisulu, minister of defense and veterans, (notably veterans are not old SADF, but the AZAPO, MK and affiliates.) is incapable of fulfilling this post and is incompetent. This is not because she is a woman, or that she is black or that she is a member of the ANC, it is that she does not have the tools required to do the job. Be that in skills, experience in defense matters or planning, as well as budgetary constraints. This failing by the government is a very risky one; it isn’t like not providing an RDP house to a poor family as promised. What’s the worst that could happen? The guy will dance in front of his local council office or overturn a few dustbins. Alas no, these are people with access to some serious fire power and ego’s to match. Predictably in Africa, when a Government does not do its bidding, the army, lead by a pissed off Corporal, knocks on the door of the “Tuin-Huis” and assumes the position. This is a reality echoed throughout Africa and many other parts of the world. (Let’s not forget Lesotho, Uganda Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, and Congo to name a few) Will our countrymen ever wake up to the fact that all Politicians are liars and not to be trusted? Will the majority ever step up to be counted in a responsible manner? Will they have the balls to say thanks for fighting for our independence now its time to go? The SANDF is under budgeted, over aged, and under skilled. Defence analyst Helmoed-Römer Heitman says that time may be closer than one thinks. I have included an extract by this Veteran international Defence Analyst who’s comments are shunned by our esteemed leaders and I quote; “The DoD's April 2010- March 2013 strategic plan cut flying hours for the Saab Gripen advanced light fighter from this years' 550 hours to just 250 for next year and 2012. He noted the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation requires fighter pilots to log at least 20 flight hours per month (240 flight hours per year per pilot) to remain qualified. That is obviously not possible on the current budget.” Ok so we will have two pilots in date, or 12 who don’t know how to fly. Care to guess which the Government will choose? The bottom line is that government is not meeting its unspoken commitment to our soldiers to give them the tools they need to perform their duties,” The latest budget cut was R3.2 billion. This caused the Department of Defence (DoD) to warn in March that it was underfunded by at least R7.335 billion for the current financial year. The White Paper on Defence states that the SANDF shall be a balanced, modern, affordable and technologically advanced military force, capable of executing its tasks effectively and efficiently (Chapter 2: par. 11.7). It further states that the government will not endanger the lives of military personnel through the provision of inadequate or inferior weapons and equipment (Chapter 3: par. 43.6). Let’s see if that is possible with the current situation the SANDF finds itself in. I have included a few extract from various document, reports and audit findings to show the dire situation the county is being driven into, firstly the Core Defence Capability Gov white paper 1999 “The White Paper states that the SANDF has to maintain a core defence capability because of the inherent unpredictability of the future. Such a capability cannot be created from scratch should the need suddenly arise. (Chapter 4: par. 6.2). Issues that face the SANDF include a severe shortage of pilots and naval combat officers, due to the replacement of white officers from the former SADF with appointments from the old liberation forces. The loss of trained personnel and the decommissioning of much needed equipment due to funding issues, high HIV-rates amongst personnel and the fact that SANDF infantry soldiers are some of the oldest in the world, all raise questions regarding the current fighting efficiency of the SANDF.” This is an extract from the Auditor-General on the Performance audit for Border Control executive summery. “6.1.1 Strategic planning A lack of proper holistic oversight and control over the strategic planning process resulted in the following documents still being in draft format: • The overall strategic plan relating to borderline policing • The divisional policy relating to borderline operations This increased the risk of operational inefficiency and ineffectiveness 6.1.4 Land borders – human resources A deficient human resource planning process with regard to the takeover of the land borderline control function resulted in an under capacity rate of 71%. As a result of this under capacity, the primary function of the land borderline objective (which is to combat illegal movement of persons and goods) could not be adequately performed. 6.1.2 Intelligence and information gathering Due to the fact that a detailed borderline-specific intelligence needs analysis has not been performed since the SAPS took over this function, no specialised operational support structure with reference to borderline-specific crime intelligence was in place at the time of the audit, which increased the risk of a fragmented approach to intelligence gathering and breaches of borderline security. 6.1.7 Air borders A deficient strategic framework and a lack of effective coordination with the South African Air Force (SAAF), especially with regard to the use of radar and other specialised surveillance equipment, resulted in the following being compromised: • Continuity in terms of information collated • The continuous updating of the information database • The coordination of predeployment air borderline training • Accountability for air borderline resources at operational level Consequently, the effective detection of illegal aviation crossings was compromised. 6.2.6 Non-utilisation of resources Deficiencies in data-line and network connections, a lack of adequate training in the use of specific devices, deficiencies in the needs analysis for equipment allocations and a lack of adequate management oversight at the local BCOCC level with regard to the expeditious maintenance and repair of equipment, resulted in instances of equipment not being utilised or being underutilised.” This is frightening reading and is where we find ourselves facing a dilemma, many will choose to ignore, others will say is not important and or stick their heads in the sand. When will this incompetent, inefficient and corrupt political party be put to task? It’s up to the voters to catch a very big wakeup call or else our future may not have an ANC in power till the messiah comes but an Idi Amin who will make them look like fools.

  • quintt02 - 2010-12-03 13:24

    I did my national service in 1993; i did my basic training in Bethlehem and my JL's in Kroonstad. I was very proud of the unit i was in as we where a specialised unit (Engineering Core - SAPPERS). When i got maried in 2004 my wife and i spent our honeymoon in the Berg; i suggested to her that we take a drive up to Bethlehem so i can show her my old army base. When i got there they just let me in; they did not search my vehicle or us and the state of the base compared to how i remembered it was two different worlds. The soldiers dressed rather slap-gat, the building looked terrible from the neglect or lack of maintenance. I felt ashamed to show my wife where i did my military service. The SANDF has gone backwards in my opinion and the ANC cannot blame this on the Apartheid government as the old SADF was run like a well oiled machine; there is no discipline to speak of and we are now a JOKE of an ARMY!! Just like everything else in our beautiful country; we are going backwards with everything slowly because of the corruption and incompetance in government.

  • quintt02 - 2010-12-03 13:33

    What a complete joke the SANDF has become.I did my national service in 1993 and did my basic training in Bethlehem and my JL's in Kroonstad.I was a proud SAFFER (Engineering Corps) until the day i took my wife to the Bethlehem base.We where on honeymoon in the Berg in 2004 and i suggested i show her where i did my basics.When we got there the soldier just let us in after i told him i was previously in this unit; he did not search us or the car like we did in my day.The buildings look shoddy from the lack of maintenance and upkeep and the soldiers all wore their uniform in a slap-gat manner with their shirts hanging out and their beret's looking like they are for a domstic worker.The SANDF is going backwards slowly just like everything else in this country e.g. education,crime,pot-holes;ESKOM, etc. The list could go on and on but the ANC doesn't have a clue how to run this country except to pillage the coffers for themselves and make the poor poorer.

  • Ron - 2011-01-09 19:18

    With all due respect is there anyone in their right mind who doesn't know this? I reckon if Monaco or the Vatican attacked us we'd lose.

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