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South Africa has no reason to be proud of its defence force (SANDF)

(Budget vote debate in Parliament: Defence and military veterans)

There is no longer a reason for South Africans to take pride or to put their trust in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) and the blame for most of its problems rests squarely on the shoulders of the political leadership of the ANC government.

It is truly disturbing to learn that the arms manufacturer Denel, which was once an internationally renowned arms giant and technological ground breaker in the field, is now unable to pay its employees' salaries.

This is the direct result of mismanagement and the fact that incompetent and under-qualified managerial staff were appointed at this public enterprise in the name of Affirmative Action (AA). What is happening at Denel exemplifies how the policy of AA is destroying state institutions as well as the country's entire economy.

It is incomprehensible that the government does not realise that competent and qualified people must be appointed in managerial positions and not cadres simply because that are loyal to the ANC government. As long as that is the case, the problems will continue.

A country's defence force is supposed to be its nation's pride and joy as it is tasked with protecting its sovereignty. That is, however, not the case with the SANDF and there are times when one cannot help but hang your head in shame for our defence force.

One such instance is when the Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, decided to transport party-political individuals across national borders using a military aircraft. Questions about the matter are simply not answered in Parliament, which means that the head of the defence force is setting a poor example of a lack of discipline.

One hangs your head in shame due to the billions of rand that the defence force spends amid allegations of corruption, like with the recent procurement of a Covid-19 vaccine from Cuba. The Minister was supposed to appoint a panel to investigate the matter, but so far noting has come of it.

It was no secret that the top management of the defence force was opposed to such an investigation and that raises the question of whether the Minister ordered the investigation at all.

The Minister of Defence is supposed to set an exemplary example that the defence force will do well to follow. At present, that is not the case in South Africa and the only honourable way out for the current Minister would be to retire or resign.

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