Last week the DA wrote to the defence minister asking why, many years after concerns were raised, the SANDF still faces a skills shortage that renders the strategic weapons procurement package submarines useless.
Since 1995, many concerns were raised about the cost and appropriateness of the equipment, and its supposed need.
In 2004, we said that the SANDF would not have the resources to integrate the submarines into the navy. In 2005, we were critical that the army was considering freighting the submarines to South Africa because it lacked suitable crews to pilot them.
Our concerns have been vindicated by reports that only one of the submarines is operational, with the second lying mostly idle.
In addition to salary issues, there are costs of ammunition, training exercises, equipment testing, infrastructure, repairs and maintenance. If the SANDF lacks funds to operate the subs, how will it find money to sustain their use over the long term?
Instead of recruiting able young men and women who are motivated to serve their country, the SANDF has embarked on a transformation agenda that drives out skilled members. There are signs that this might change, but will it change enough to make a difference?
There is definitely a lack of planning and management by the SANDF.
Rafeek Shah, DA spokesman for defence