South African Army struggling to protect military bases due to underfunding – defence expert

Qama Qukula | Presenter John Maytham chats to ‘Defence Web’ editor Guy Martin.

  • Defence Web editor Guy Martin says budget cuts are affecting the SANDF’s ability to protect its bases.
  • He says budget constraints are also hampering the maintenance of the force’s serviceable fleet.

Soldiers from the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

The ability of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to protect its military bases and facilities has come into question amid a growing civilian threat.

The Special Forces School at Murrayhill, north of Pretoria, is reportedly under siege by shack dwellers who have been stealing electricity cables and illegally connecting water infrastructure.

Parliament’s portfolio committee on defence and military veterans recently visited the training facility and called for action to stop the encroachment by civilian populations.

At the same time, a military base in Makhanda in the Eastern Cape has been without fencing due to theft in the area.

Defence Web editor Guy Martin says residents have taken hand grenades and other items from the 6 SA Infantry (SAI) Battalion in Makhanda.

According to Martin, the SANDF does not have enough money to replace the perimeter fencing or service its equipment, including some of its aircraft.

“It doesn’t inspire much confidence in the defence force if it can’t even protect its own perimeter fence,” he tells CapeTalk.

The SANDF is so short-funded… budget cuts are seeing them struggle to maintain things like the fences around their own units, as in Makhanda, and just to maintain and service equipment.

Guy Martin, Editor – Defence Web

At Murrayhill… the base is, as far as I understand it, quite well secured. The problem is that informal settlements are growing very rapidly around the facility, and electricity and water connections are being diverted for use in those informal settlements. The base itself is still pretty secure.

Guy Martin, Editor – Defence Web

In Makhanda, the perimeter fence has literally been carted away, and that is quite an embarrassment and a failure on the military’s part… This opens up not only the base to people coming in and stealing more equipment and items but it’s also a security risk from the point of view of those living in the area.

Guy Martin, Editor – Defence Web

Some residents in Makhanda got through the broken fence and they were picking up old hand grenades, there’s live rounds of ammunition lying about.

Guy Martin, Editor – Defence Web

Source : EWN

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