'Pathetic': Commission Says Under Resourced Soldiers Unable to Protect Military Bases

'Pathetic': Commission Says Under Resourced Soldiers Unable to Protect Military Bases

  • The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has been deemed inadequately resourced and underfunded
  • The Defence Force Service Commission (DFSC) presented its findings to Parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Defence
  • Among others, the DFSC reported poor access control, maintenance, and the lack of a serviceable fleet within the SANDF
  • South Africans have headed online to lament the disclosure of what they believe is privileged information

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PRETORIA - South African National Defence Force (SANDF) personnel are not equipped to protect the national army's military bases.

This is the word from the Defence Force Service Commission (DFSC) that probed the length and breadth of the SANDF ahead of making the damning findings.

South African National Defence Force, SANDF, Defence Force Service Commission, DFSC, Findings, Parliament, Joint Standing Committee on Defence, Access control, Maintenance, Fleet
The SANDF is inadequately resourced and underfunded. Image: Alet Pretorius/ Gallo Images.
Source: Getty Images

Further, on its list of findings, DFSC cited that there were no stringent access control measures in place at the military base.

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It is unknown if the DFSC blames the said lack of control of who moves in and out of the facilities on the incident in which about 500 army vehicles were reportedly torched at the military’s Wallmansthal vehicle depot in September.

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Similarly, as reported by News24, security fences at military bases, including at the borders, are falling apart while budget constraints hamper the maintenance, among others, of security systems.

Budgetary constraints to blame for plight

However, amid the turbulent financial constraints faced by the SANDF, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwane recently pledged R700 million in his 2021 Medium Term Budget, according to Defence Web.

Briefly News understands that from the allotted budget, more than R350 million will go towards compensating employees, while just a touch under R320 million will be set aside for the procurement of goods and services.

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The DFSC's findings were presented to Parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Defence in a meeting that also provided the committee with an update on progress towards implementing key recommendations by the commission, including a full review of all security.

Addressing the standing committee, SANDF human resources chief Vice Admiral Asiel Kubu said military security was also being severely compromised by the unauthorised occupation and subletting of military accommodation.

"Due to expired contracts, security systems cannot be repaired or maintained. Crime, including theft, the levels of which have been increasing, was reported at some units," said Kubu.

More intelligence collaboration needed

"[We must] enhance intelligence working relations between the SANDF, the State Security Agency (SSA), the Department of Home Affairs (DoH), and the South African Police Service (SAPS)," added Kubu.

In terms of army vehicles, the DFSC found there was a lack of available and serviceable duty buses and other vehicles across all units and bases, which Kubu, again, dumbed down to budget issues.

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"Budget constraints hamper the maintenance of a serviceable fleet, and there is a protracted system to dispose of unserviceable vehicles," said Kubu.

Citizens once again took to social media to react to the news of the SANDF's current plight, with some expressing concern over the dissemination of such information and whether or not it compromises the army.

Public laments disclosure of findings

Briefly News took to the comments section to bring readers all the controversial reactions.

@Simphiwe144 wrote:

"Should this information even be made public like this? Are we not exposing the nation?"

@Theuns08 said

"The same SANDF that spent R100million+ on medicine from Cuba when the pandemic hit SA! It is because SANDF is managed by people who don't even have the military expertise to even fire a "Kettie". Most of these "Generals" and ministers won't survive a 5km march."

@gnyne_sa added:

"As an enthusiast in military logistics with two degrees in the field I've believed so for over 4 years now, I've researched military logistics solutions and have concluded that the South African Army can be deemed logistically poor in combat readiness and home land defence."

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Over 200 military vehicles go up in smoke

Previously, Briefly News reported that over 200 military vehicles were consumed by fire at Wallmansthal vehicle depot in Pretoria.

The cause of the fire is unknown but is believed to have broken out at around 19:00 hours on Thursday evening.

TimesLIVE reported that both the Sinoville Firefighting Association and Apies River rural fire protection association fought the fire until the early hours of Friday morning.

The true extent of the damage is still being assessed but what is known is that over 200 vehicles including Nyalas were destroyed. The Citizen reported that the fire did not injure anyone.

Source: Briefly News

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