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Cash-strapped SANDF 'spent R5m on general's funeral' — report

Family, friends, and colleagues at the funeral of SANDF logistics chief Lt-Gen Xolani Brian Ndlovu. File photo.
Family, friends, and colleagues at the funeral of SANDF logistics chief Lt-Gen Xolani Brian Ndlovu. File photo.
Image: Eugene Coetzee/HeraldLIVE

The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) spent an estimated R5m on guest houses, catering, allowances, buses and a fly-past at the funeral of a top general in the Eastern Cape.

Nearly 450 soldiers and officers travelled to the funeral last Sunday of logistics chief Lt-Gen Xolani Ndlovu in New Brighton, according to Sunday publication Rapport.

SANDF members were reportedly instructed to stay in guest houses, not military barracks, and claim allowances to cover meals — despite a recent ban on non-urgent travel and travel allowance claims.

The publication said military accommodation and meals would have cost a fraction of its “conservative estimate” of R4.2m spent on guest houses and travel allowances. Additional costs included a flyover by two Gripen fighter jets and one C-130, catering, mobile toilets, tents and five hired buses.

HeraldLIVE reported there were about 500 mourners at the Nangoza Jebe Hall in New Brighton. 

“He will forever live on in the life of our organisation,” SANDF chief Gen Rudzani Maphwanya told mourners. 

“He shall never be forgotten ... In his name, we will never waver in our efforts to serve the republic and support its people ... His legacy will loom large in the pages of the department of defence and in the story of our country.

“He gave much to his work. May the fond memories of this fallen compatriot remain with us forever.”

Independent security and defence analyst Helmoed Heitman wrote in Business Day that defence funding was less in real terms this year than in 1998, and had declined from 5.36% of government spending in 1998 to 2.27% in 2023.

Defence minister Thandi Modise recently disclosed, in response to a DA question in parliament that 85% of the SA Air Force’s aircraft were out of action due to age, a lack of spares or budget constraints.


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