Maritime and Landward Defence Programmes: briefing by Department of Defence and Military Veterans

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Defence and Military Veterans

15 November 2010
Chairperson: Mr M Booi (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Chief Director: Maritime Strategy of the Department of Defence briefed the Committee on the Department’s Maritime Defence Programme for the period 2009/10.  The briefing covered the mandate of the South African Navy; the key strategic objectives; information on the different force design types and ages of vessels; the cost of capital acquisitions, personnel and operating costs and the maintenance costs for frigates, submarines and patrol vessels. 

A summary of the achievements during 2009/10 was provided.  The most significant challenges faced by the SA Navy were the impact of under-funding on logistic and base support capability and the availability of vessels to meet the required levels of capability.  The staff complement had been reduced over the preceding years to approximately 7,000.  60% of operational funding was spent on personnel costs.  An overview of the performance indicators and targets set for the 2009/10 fiscal year was given.  With the exception of general education and training of naval personnel, all targets were achieved.

Questions from the Committee concerning the incidents involving the SAS Manthatisi were anticipated and an explanation of the recent incidents of the blown fuses, the damage to the aft plane and the build-up of hydrogen in the submarine’s batteries was provided.  The submarine would undergo its first major overhaul in South Africa, which was expected to be completed by the end of 2013.

Members asked questions about the SAS Manthatisi; the damage to an engine aboard one of the frigates; the capability of the SA Navy to participate in international operations; the procurement requirements of Project Biro; the recruitment and training of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds; the surplus staff reported in the annual report; the outcomes of anti-poaching operations; the purpose of aerial coastal patrols; the annual operational cycle of vessels; the size of the South African territorial waters; the participation in the Hydrological Survey; the benefits derived from the involvement in the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the staff retention initiatives in place.

The South African Army Strategic Directive of the Department of Defence briefed the Committee on the Landward Defence Programme.  The briefing covered the mandate of the SA Army, the strategic objectives, the factors influencing capability and the external and internal achievements during 2009/10.  The integrated systems approach to planning was explained, involving the elements of personnel, organisation, sustainment, training, equipment, doctrine, facilities, information and technology.  The presentation summarised the challenges for each element.  The major challenge for the SA Army was the inadequacy of the funding that was made available.

Members were extremely concerned over the impact of the lack of funding on the capability of the SA Army and felt that the army should be fully equipped and ready at all times.  Questions were asked about the transfer of R1 billion from capital acquisitions to providing additional staff benefits, the training provided to he Namibian army, the cost of maintenance of old equipment, the integrated systems approach followed, the number of trainees, the facilities that required renovation, the impact of cultural influences on capability, who was responsible for appointments to vacant posts, the loss of combat capability, which projects were cancelled because of a lack of funds, the transfer of six maintenance units without equipment or staff, the loss of skills, what training was provided and the impact of the integration process and the peacekeeping missions undertaken in other African countries on the SA Army.

Meeting report

Ms Mamoloko Kubushi, Deputy Director-General, Department of Defence (DOD) attended the meeting in her capacity as Acting Secretary for Defence in the absence of Ms Mpumi Mpofu, Secretary for Defence.

Briefing on the Maritime Defence Programme
Rear-Admiral Bernhard Teuteberg, Chief Director: Maritime Strategy, DOD, presented the briefing on the Maritime Defence Programme (Programme 4) to the Committee (see attached document).

The presentation included the mandate of the South African Navy; the key strategic objectives and the different roles played in naval missions.  The briefing was illustrated with maps indicating the country’s maritime trade links, maritime boundaries and the routes used for trafficking in cocaine and heroin. 

Information on the different force design types and ages of the vessels in the SA Navy was provided.  A cost comparison of the capital acquisition cost, annual personnel cost, annual operating costs and annualised life cycle costs for frigates, submarines and patrol vessels was included.

The major achievements of the SA Navy during 2009/10 were summarised.  The most significant challenges were the impact of under-funding on logistic and base support capability and the availability of vessels to meet the required levels of capability.  South Africa had a relatively small navy and the staff complement had been reduced over the preceding years to approximately 7,000.  60% of operational funding was spent on personnel costs.  An overview of the performance indicators and targets set for the 2009/10 fiscal year was given.  With the exception of general education and training of naval personnel, all targets were achieved. 

Questions from the Committee concerning the incidents involving the SAS Manthatisi were anticipated and the briefing included photographs to illustrate the recent incidents of the blown fuses, the damage to the aft plane and the build-up of hydrogen in the submarine’s batteries.  The incident resulting in the fuses being blown occurred when the submarine was docked and connected to the shore power supply.  The aft plane was damaged when the submarine hit the quay during rough sea conditions. The build-up of hydrogen in the batteries was dealt with by installing a hydrogen release valve.  The Greek navy had experienced a similar problem with the build-up of hydrogen in their submarines.

Mr A Mlangeni (ANC) thanked Rear-Admiral Teuteberg for the presentation.  He said that certain Members found the navy a difficult topic as they were not familiar with submarines and boats.  He was pleased to hear about the effort made by the SA Navy to provide opportunities for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Mr P Groenewald (FF+) asked if the incident of the blown fuses on the SAS Manthatisi had occurred before.  He asked what had been done to ensure that a similar incident would not occur again as this type of incident could have severe repercussions.  He noted that the Greek navy had the same problem with the build-up of hydrogen and wondered why the problem was not resolved a long time ago.  He asked how long the SAS Manthatisi would be out of commission.

Mr D Maynier (DA) acknowledged that the deployment of the SA Navy was a political decision.  He asked if the SA Navy had the capability to deploy to Somalia in the event that the Cabinet should decide on such a mission.

The Chairperson requested that Members limited their questions to matters included in the Department’s annual report for 2009/10 and refrain from raising issues that might be classified.

Mr Maynier asked what was being procured in terms of Project Biro and what the duration of the project would be. He wanted to know how many submarines were ‘in the shed’ and when the vessels would be ready to put to sea.  He asked why the Greek navy was engaged on the problem of the build-up of hydrogen in the submarine batteries rather than the German company that had built the submarines.  He requested more information on Sunlight, the Greek company that originally provided the batteries.  He asked for confirmation of reports in the media concerning one of the frigates that had a damaged engine that could not be repaired.  He noted that, according to the annual report, the SA Navy had 102 surplus employees and queried the percentage expenditure on staff costs.  He noted the policing role played by the SA Navy in combating marine poaching but no details were provided in the annual report on the number of missions undertaken and the successes achieved.

Mr L Mphahlele (PAC) asked for an explanation of the ‘annual operational cycle’ referred to in slide 5 of the presentation document.  He requested more information on the cost and duration of the hydrographical survey responsibility undertaken by the SA Navy.  He asked how big an area comprised the South African territorial waters.  The noted the decline in Navy personnel and wanted to know the reasons for leaving and what retention strategies were in place.  He asked how many young persons from disadvantaged backgrounds were involved in the Izivunguvungu Youth Development Sailing Project.  He asked what the duration of the project was and if these youths would be employed on a permanent basis.

Mr L Diale (ANC) asked what the cost of a submarine battery was.

The Chairperson asked what the long term benefits were of the successful involvement of the SA Navy in the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup operations.

Mr Mlangeni asked what the purpose was of the aerial patrols of the coastline.

Mr A Maziya (ANC) noted the impact of under-funding on the capability of the SA Navy reported in slide 17 of the presentation document and asked if the action taken to mitigate the challenges had been successful.  He asked what the SA Navy suggested to alleviate the negative impact of under-funding on operations.

Adm Teuteberg responded to the questions concerning the SAS Manthatisi.  A submarine was connected to the shore power supply whenever it was brought alongside.  The fuses were blown when the Manthatisi was connected to the shore power supply.  The incident was thoroughly investigated by a board of enquiry, steps were identified to ensure that a similar incident would not recur and the responsible person was reprimanded.  The SA Navy was aware that mistakes could be made even if young people had been trained.  The procedures were reviewed and amended and additional training was provided.  He pointed out that there had been no major damage to the electrical systems of the submarine, there was no fire and the blowing of the fuses had actually protected the submarine’s systems.

Adm Teuteberg explained that the submarines acquired by the SA Navy were built by a German company, which appointed the Greek company Sunlight to provide the batteries for the submarines.  The Greek navy had purchased the same submarines as well and the SA Navy had engaged with the Greek navy when the problem of the hydrogen build-up was detected.  Only the SAS Manthatisi was currently ‘in the shed’ and would be the first submarine to undergo a major overhaul in South Africa.  The overhaul was scheduled for 2012/13 and the Manthatisi was expected to be operational by the end of 2013.

Adm Teuteberg agreed that any deployment to Somalia would be a political decision.  He believed that the SA Navy had the capability to participate in an operation similar to the recent operation launched by the European Union, particularly if the same level of support services was provided.  It was difficult to maintain a presence for a period longer than three to six months without extensive support.  Details of Operation Biro were announced by the Minister and were mentioned in Jane’s Defence Weekly.  Biro included the procurement of six patrol vessels that were able to operate in multi-mission mode.  The vessels would have a modular design and would preferably be built in South Africa.  Interest in the project had been shown by unspecified countries to the north of South Africa but he was not at liberty to divulge which countries.

Adm Teuteberg advised that the SAS Charlotte Maxeke and SAS Queen Modjadj were currently in the water and were meeting force deployment expectations.  He added that the new submarines were much better than the old Daphne class submarines, represented great value for money and were the best bargain South Africa was ever likely to get.  The Members of the Committee were welcome to visit the submarines any time.  The starboard engine of one of the frigates was damaged when a valve failed and sea water entered the vessel.  The sea water had damaged the crankshaft and the engine was found to be irreparable.  The funds were available to replace the engine but it was necessary to cut a hole in the hull of the frigate in order to remove the damaged engine.  The repair was planned for 2011.

Adm Teuteberg said that the SA Navy was under-staffed, particularly in technical posts.  The ‘overstaffing’ of 102 persons was a technical anomaly because there were more recruits undergoing training than the number of posts available.  The ‘annual operational cycle’ referred to the periods during any one year when a vessel was either operational or was undergoing scheduled maintenance.  Submarines had to undergo a major overhaul every five years.  The cycles for each of the vessels were alternated to meet capability requirements at all times.  He pointed out that no navy ever had all its vessels at sea at any point in time.  The South African coastline was 2,985 km long but he could not recall the exact size of the country’s territorial waters.  The extent of the country’s responsibility lessened the further out to sea from the coast.

Adm Teuteberg advised that the SA Navy had different staff retention initiatives in place, for example, submariners were issued with special leather jackets and watches and special allowances were applicable for certain posts.  Financial compensation was not the only factor influencing the retention of staff and there were many push/pull factors at play.  The SA Navy had initiated several voluntary projects aimed at youth development, for example the Izivunguvungu Youth Development Sailing Project and programmes to develop mathematical, music and literacy abilities.  The programmes were supported by the private sector, for example by donating musical instruments.  During the previous year, 700 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds were taken on but the number would likely be reduced due to financial constraints.  A submarine battery had 480 cells and each battery cost R35 million.  During the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup, the SA Navy participated in the joint command control centre, covered the ports of Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, conducted aerial reconnaissance and monitoring and participated in integrated operations.  The World Cup operations provided very useful experience for the country.  Maritime aircraft provided information to the boats at sea and were always part of a team effort.  The aircraft did not operate in isolation.

Adm Teuteberg advised that the response to the funding constraints involved the scaling down of the facilities at Durban and closing down the Reserves.  The SA Navy had cut costs to the bone but continued to meet its mandate.  South Africa’s participation in the Hydrological Survey was a national obligation.  South Africa had subscribed to the Safety at Sea Convention since 1954 and was a member of the international Hydrological Survey.  The purpose of the Survey was to produce up to date maritime charts.  He pointed out that 45% of South African territorial waters were surveyed by means other than the modern electronic methods currently in use and needed to be updated.

Mr Groenewald asked when the problem of the hydrogen build-up in submarine batteries was first detected and why it was not addressed before it became a problem.  He was concerned that a major overhaul of a submarine could take as long as three to four years.  He was of the opinion that the problem with the blown fuses had resulted from a lack of training.

Mr Maynier wanted to know how long the SAS Manthatisi would be out of commission and if there were other reasons why the submarine remained ‘in the shed’.  He asked if the incident involving the damage to the frigate engine was investigated, if any disciplinary action was taken and what the total cost was to replace the engine.

Adm Teuteberg replied that a technical investigation took place and found that the damage to the engine was caused by a design fault in a valve.  The valve did not close to prevent sea water from flooding in when the boat was rolling in heavy sea conditions.  There was no negligence on the part of any crew member involved.  The valves in the other frigates were examined and modified to prevent a similar occurrence.  The cost of the new engine was R16 million.  The SA Navy had decided to keep the SAS Manthatisi ‘in the shed’ until the submarine had been overhauled.  There was a lack of fully trained submarine crew members and there was currently only enough staff to crew two submarines.  Sufficient crew would be available for the SAS Manthatisi when she was ready to put to sea in 2013.  The overhaul of the Manthatisi was a complex operation, which was currently at the planning stage.  The Manthatisi would be out of commission for three years.  The submarines acquired by the Greek navy were built at the same time as the submarines purchased by South Africa.  The increased build-up of hydrogen in the batteries was first detected in South Africa.  The solution was to install a release valve and the SA Navy had shared its solution with the Greek navy.

Mr Mlangeni asked for more information on what was involved when a submarine was brought ashore.

Adm Teuteberg explained that the submarine operated under battery power when under water and was connected to the shore power supply when it was docked.

Ms Kubushi had noted Mr Maynier’s point concerning the need to provide more information on the outcomes of operations in the Department’s annual report.

Briefing on the Landward Defence Programme
Brigadier-General Eddie Drost, South African Army Strategic Direction, DOD presented the briefing on the Landward Defence Programme to the Committee (see attached document).

The introduction to the briefing stressed the importance of land power to defend the nation’s territory.  The mandate of the SA Army focused on national defence, ensuring peace and stability and contributing to development and upliftment of the country.  Strategic objectives were set for ensuring territorial integrity, promoting peace and stability on the African continent, protecting vital interests, providing a rapid reaction force through the Reserve Force, contributing to national deterrence and homeland defence and contributing to the socio-economic development and upliftment of the country.  An overview of the conflicts on the African continent was provided.  The complexity of modern warfare and the spectrum of military operations were explained.

The major challenge faced by the SA Army was the availability of sufficient resources to meet requirements in the short-, medium- and long-term.  The factors influencing the capability of the SA Army included its budget, obsolescence, cultural issues, personnel, the loss of skills and equipment.  Capability required time to develop and needed to be constantly maintained.  The loss of capability was perceived to be a threat to the country.

An overview of the achievements of the SA Army during 2009/10 was provided.  External operations included missions to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Sudan and Burundi as well as training operations in the DRC and the Central African Republic.  Internal operations included participation in a joint operation with the South African Police Services (SAPS), providing support to the training of foreign forces (Singapore and the United Kingdom), the building of three bridges in the Eastern Cape (with the Department of public Works), joint inter-departmental and multinational (SADC) exercises, the training of the Namibian Army Artillery and assisting with the establishment of .an artillery school in Namibia.

The integrated systems approach to planning was explained, involving the elements of personnel, organisation, sustainment, training, equipment, doctrine, facilities, information and technology (POSTEDFIT).  The challenges related to personnel included the need for a humane exit mechanism, inadequate funding and the loss of skills.  The organisation of the SA Army needed to change to a more integrated system.  Sustainment was threatened by the inability to sustain combat operations and the depletion of stock levels.  Training was impeded by a shortage of ammunition and vehicle support and the lack of suitable training areas.  Equipment and weapons were old and expensive to maintain and the acquisition of new equipment was placed on hold because of cost constraints.  Doctrine and policy development was hampered by insufficient funds to conduct research and the resultant limited focus on the future.  Facilities were old, dilapidated and insufficient and were adversely impacted by the cancellation of repair and maintenance projects by the Department of Public Works.  Information systems were not integrated and technology was outdated. 

The critical success factors in addressing the challenges were funding and people.  The SA Army strived to place the right people in the right positions.  Regardless of the challenges, the SA Army was committed to meet its operational challenges and mandate and continued to invest in its human resources but needed additional funding to avert future challenges.

The Chairperson remarked that the briefing informed the information provided in the Department’s annual report.

Mr Mlangeni remarked that “a Government that failed to protect its people and its territory was useless and was unfit to govern if the people were not satisfied”.  He disagreed with the questioning of the need to spend so much on defence when the country was not at war.  He was of the opinion that the SA Army had to be properly equipped and had to be ready at all times.  Equipment had to be up to standard and the army would never be able to catch up unless it remained properly equipped during peacetime.  He queried the statement made that there were not enough training areas available in the country.  He noted that the SA Army had old equipment that was too expensive to maintain and asked why the equipment was not replaced instead.

Mr E Mlambo (ANC) asked why the SA Army had to use old artillery equipment but had provided the Namibian army with artillery training.  He asked how much was spent on the maintenance of old equipment.

Ms N Mabedla (ANC) asked for an explanation on the ‘silo approach’ referred to on slide 45 of the presentation.  She asked for statistical data on the number of trainees and the facilities that needed to be upgraded.  She asked what was involved in the Repair and Maintenance Program (RAMP) that was cancelled.

Mr Mphalele asked for an explanation of cultural influences on the capability of the SA Army.  He wanted to know who was responsible for the appointment of personnel to specific posts.  He said that the Members of the Committee did not have first-hand knowledge of the conditions prevailing at military bases and urged that oversight visits were scheduled as soon as possible.

Mr Maynier said that the information provided in the presentation as well as the annual report indicated that the SA Army was in trouble.  It was clear that the funding provided was inadequate to sustain operations.  He referred to page 49 of the annual report, where it was stated that the SA Army was losing major combat operations capability.  He asked for clarity on this statement.  Slide 50 of the presentation mentioned that most projects were put on hold because of cost escalations and page 49 of the annual report mentioned ‘partial acquisitions’.  He asked what projects were affected.  He noted that R1 billion of funding made available for capital acquisitions were transferred to cover increased staff benefits.  Operation Corona involved the Defence Force taking over border control from the SAPS and he asked why the process was phased in over a period of four years.  He asked for clarity on the statement on page 133 of the annual report that the SA Army had taken over six maintenance units that had no staff or equipment.

Mr Maziya noted that the loss of skills and the decline of knowledge had been identified as areas for concern.  He asked if the salary issues in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) had been identified as a threat before the Minister had intervened and established the Interim National Defence Force Service Commission (INDFSC).  The briefing by the SA Navy had included a great deal of information on training but the SA Army briefing had made little mention of what training was being done.

Mr Diale observed that mention was made of dilapidated facilities in slide 52 of the presentation.  He asked if the premises occupied by Military Intelligence had been renovated as the state of the building had been a disgrace.

The Chairperson thanked Brig Gen Drost for the frank and detailed briefing.  He asked what the impact of the integration process had been on the SA Army.  He remarked that the issues raised were not new and that it was unfair to place all the blame on the current Ministry.  He asked what the impact was of the peacekeeping missions undertaken in other African countries.  He asked what support and assistance were required by the SA Army to address the challenges listed in the briefing.

Brig Gen Drost explained that South Africa contributed to the training of the forces of the other SADC countries in accordance with the African concept of integrated defence.  The Namibian army was trained in the use of the G2 artillery equipment acquired from South Africa.  He explained that the ‘silo approach’ involved the principles of good governance.  Wars were not fought with separate army, navy and air force operations and the silo concept embraced an integrated approach.  An example was the armoured division, which included personnel, equipment as well as the unit responsible for equipment maintenance.  The need to re-organise the SA Army stemmed from the principle of ‘train as fight’ and the structure of the brigade needed to integrate the infantry as well as equipment maintenance services.

Brig Gen Drost said that the SA Army lost approximately 1,500 personnel per annum through natural attrition.  The rate of loss had declined once improved salaries and benefits were provided.  Soldiers did not leave the army because of low salaries and the SANDF recognised that job-satisfaction and the meeting of other needs played a role in the retention of staff as well.  The SA Army provided training for technical staff but many left the Defence Force as far higher salaries were paid in the private sector.  Young people used to join the army to satisfy a need for adventure and the constant loss of staff was not a new issue.  RAMP was the refurbishment programme of the Department of Public Works (DPW) but he was not aware of the reason for halting the programme.  The DPW had decided not to carry out piecemeal repairs to premises and had decided to rather embark on a programme of refurbishing entire buildings.

Brig Gen explained that the cultural factors impacting on capability included issues such as language and religion.  For example, the fact that a second language was used in communication affected the response of a person during times of stress.  The need to observe religious holidays affected decisions when operations would be mounted.  The management of an organisation generally appointed suitable candidates to positions, for example an infantry commander appointed candidates to positions up to the rank of major.  The SA Army focused on capability and it was crucial to assess the abilities of staff in order to ensure that the right individual was placed in the right environment.  Officers needed to have good people skills and leadership qualities.

Brig Gen Drost could not divulge information considered to be classified and limited his reply to a general response to the questions asked by Members.  The army had to ensure that the force was sustained and only the army should maintain specialist equipment.  He agreed that insufficient funding was made available but the SA Army strived to provide a combat-ready force at all times.  He was not on a position to reveal details of the projects that had to be put on hold but could reveal that there were more than 40 projects in progress.  Although the SANDF was high on the list for additional funding, the National Treasury had not approved requests for additional funding.  The Minister had decided to re-direct R1 billion from the capital acquisition programme to provide better remuneration and other benefits.  When funding was not available to purchase new equipment, alternative plans were devised, for example phasing in the replacement of essential equipment rather than replacing all the equipment at the same time.

Brig Gen Drost did not have the details of the agreement reached between the SANDF and SAPS concerning Operation Corona and cannot provide the reasons for phasing in the taking over of the responsibility for border control.  In any event, it was necessary for the SANDF to build up capacity and to upgrade the bases on the borders before taking full control.  Full deployment was scheduled for 2014/15.  The borders with Mozambique and Zimbabwe had the highest priority because of issues of security.  The six units returned to the SA Army by the Logistics Division of the SANDF were second line workshop units that only operated during times of war.  During peacetime, these second line units were not staffed or equipped.

Brig Gen Drost explained that the decision to outsource certain functions had resulted in a loss of skills.  An example was the outsourcing of mess facilities.  When the SA Army had to undertake missions in other African countries, the private company providing mess facilities refused to take the responsibility in another country and the army found it had no internal capacity to provide mess facilities.  The focus had reverted back to building internal capacity rather than outsourcing the provision of services.  The lack of internal capacity for technical services was a major concern and the SA Army provided many opportunities for technical training.  The private sector was being engaged to allow the army to provide facilities for apprenticeship training.  The remuneration policy was being reviewed and other retention initiatives were being considered.  He did not have the necessary information to respond to the question concerning the condition of the premises occupied by Military Intelligence.

Brig Gen Drost’s response to the questions about the impact of under-funding on the SA Army was that a country would have the army it was willing to pay for.  He assured the Committee that the SA Army would deliver what was required of it but Members had to bear in mind that it could never be a free service.  Previous decisions on the apportionment of available funds had tended to favour the SA Navy and SA Air Force, with the result that the SA Army currently had old and obsolete equipment and needed a major investment in strategic defence packages.

Brig Gen Drost conceded that the integration of the former freedom fighters into the regular army since 1994 had been problematic.  The experience gained from the peacekeeping missions had been valuable, for example the ammunition packed in metal containers was susceptible to rust in the jungle conditions of Burundi and had to be down-graded.  Although functional, much of the equipment was not specifically designed for the jungle or desert conditions of Burundi or the Sudan.  Despite the many challenges, the SA Army had a ‘can do’ approach but remained committed to serving the Government of the day to the best of its ability.  However, Government’s support for the SANDF was essential.

Dr Mary Ledwaba, Chief Director: Human Resources Strategy and Policy, DOD advised, that a detailed briefing on the human resources of the SANDF was provided to Parliament a week earlier.  The Department was concerned over the loss of technical skills in the SA Army.  Special technical allowances were paid to navy and air force personnel and the Minister had subsequently approved the extension of the special allowances to the SA Army.  Since the allowances came into effect, a slow-down in the number of qualified staff had been noted.  Members of the SANDF were unique and the Department was actively engaging with the National Treasury to access the funding necessary to implement the special occupational dispensation.  After 1994, members of seven different liberation forces had to be integrated into the SANDF.  A member of the Defence Force had to remain employed for a period of at least ten years in order to qualify for a decent pension.  The policy of the SANDF was to allow employees to remain in its employ until retirement age was reached.  The Department was engaged in discussions with the National State Pension Fund to assist with providing adequate retirement benefits to older members that would allow for the intake of young people into the forces to be increased.  She was confident that the initiatives that were recently put in place would allow the human resource objectives to be achieved.

Mr Banie Engelbrecht, Chief Director: Budget Management, DOD explained that the Department had to follow the prescribed budget processes.  However, the DOD operated in the background and did not enjoy the same high profile as other Government entities concerned with alleviating poverty and had to compete for funds.  The Department’s budget for 2009/10 was cut by R422 million.  For several years, there had been a marked difference between the funding required and the allocated amount and the Department only received approximately 5% of the total funding applied for,  The lack of sufficient funding had a negative impact on the entire defence industry, not only on the DOD.  The amount of R1 billion was transferred to provide additional staff benefits and the transfer was approved by the National Treasury because the Airbus A400 contract was cancelled.  An amount of R413 million was borrowed from the budget for the current year because equipment ordered and budgeted for would not be delivered by the supplier before the end of the 2010/11 financial year.

Ms Kubushi undertook to provide written responses to the Committee on the questions concerning Operation Corona and the Military Intelligence facilities that were not fully responded to during the meeting.  She asked Members to clarify the questions concerning military capability as classified information could not be divulged.

The Chairperson replied that the Committee was only concerned with matters contained in the annual report.  A written reply was acceptable to the Committee and most of the questions asked by Members had been responded to.  He thanked the Department for the presentations submitted to the Committee.

The meeting was adjourned.



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