Statement by Gerhard Koornhof on the SANDF

21 August 2008

The SANDF is a National asset of South Africa. We created this national defence force 14 years ago, when we integrated statutory and non - statutory forces into a single, united and professional defence force. We instituted the President of the country as its Commander -in- Chief. As a country and as a nation, we expect the SANDF to defend the sovereignty of the country, to enhance stability by participating in peace support operations on the African continent and to support the people of South Africa. Currently in practice, the Department of Defence is used as an important implementation arm of the government's foreign policy.

It is a fact that what is expected from the SANDF in terms of fundamental responsibilities allocated by our government, and what is being provided in monetary terms to the SANDF, namely a 1,2 % allocation of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), is becoming impossible to execute. Something has to give in, whether it be the well-being and safety of the soldiers, obsolete or dysfunctional equipment, deteriorating facilities, or losing much needed skills.

It is imperative that urgent consideration should be given to re-view the SANDF budget allocation. The current allocation of 1,2% of GDP, which compares to the lowest international benchmark of comparative countries, should migrate to 1,4% of GDP as soon as possible, and then be phased in to 1,7% of GDP over the next three years. In addition, the Strategic Defence Packages should be retained as a baseline in the budget.

Only then will we create a proud SANDF, capable of executing what government and our country are expecting of them.

I thank you!

Gerhard Koornhof, MP
Tel: 021 403 2950