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SANDF worried about another round of budget cuts

More cuts could affect training of soldiers and deployment, parliament hears

Aphiwe Deklerk Political reporter
The SANDF on patrol in Durban during the riots and looting in July. File image.
The SANDF on patrol in Durban during the riots and looting in July. File image.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) has expressed concern at the possible effect of more budget cuts on the force's capabilities, particularly its reserve forces.

SANDF acting head of reserve forces Brig-Gen Zoleka Niyabo-Mana told parliament's defence and military veterans portfolio committee on Wednesday the budget cuts have led to a 25% reduction in “man-days”, which had an impact on the reserve forces.

More cuts would affect training and deployment of SANDF members, she said, including support for law enforcement. 

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the army has seen the biggest deployment of its personnel to help enforce lockdown regulations. The SANDF was also called on to help the police during the riots and looting in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in July.

“We have to balance calling up members for training and deployment,” said Niyabo-Mana.

She said it was risky to deploy reserve forces soldiers who have not received ongoing training to ensure they are ready to perform on a par with their permanent counterparts.

The SA Military Health Service would also suffer the adverse effects of budget cuts because it uses reserves such as nurses, who get paid more.


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