SA armed forces in dire straits

2012-11-29 13:36

Cape Town – The South African armed forces are so financially cash strapped that the combat readiness of the SANDF is currently under serious threat.

Admiral Alan Green, director for strategy in the SANDF told parliamentarians yesterday that the Air Force currently does not have sufficient budget to keep all 26 its new Gripen fighter planes in the air.

Documents in Fin24’s possession, shows that the SAAF Gripens only flew 173 hours during the three months between 1 July and 30 September. That amounts to about 2 hours of flying time per plane per month.

Green said the SANDF is working on a strategy to determine how the planes can all be kept airworthy.

The airforce's nine reserve squadrons have also been grounded.

The Navy is also struggling to keep afloat.

Ongoing operations in the Indian Ocean have exhausted the budgets of the Navy and have placed such strain on the naval forces that operations are currently severely limited.

The Navy has four frigates that were purchased with the arms deal. Only one is currently operating. Two others are in for maintenance and the fourth needs a new engine.

This engine can only be installed in Germany.

Green says the maintainence on the two frigates can take up to nine months.

Operation Copper, the SANDF’s anti-piracy actions in the Indian Ocean only got half its requested budget this past three months.

According to Green, the navy requested R126m but only received R63m.

Helmoed Römer-Heitman, military expert, says for the anti piracy operations South Africa is involved in, all four frigates are necessary.

“It has to do with relieving each other and that sort of thing.”

Green said one frigate is sufficient at the moment.

Römer-Heitman says the SA government is playing at defence.

“They’re just playing around really. They go and buy a lot of good stuff and then give no money to operate them. That’s pointless. We are in serious trouble what concerns defense readiness.”

David Maynier, DA MP and spokesperson on defence, says the department is not forthcoming about the defence forces combat readiness.

“The last time parliament had a proper briefing on this matter was in 2008.”

Dr Thobs Gamede, chief of strategy in the SANDF was asked yesterday about the SANDF’s combat readiness status.

“We can’t discuss that in open forums,” she said. 

 - Fin24

*Follow James-Brent Styan on Twitter @jamesstyan

  • wwrer.ww - 2012-11-29 13:47

    Please don't pay them anything. We can't even correct our educational system with the money we are spending already.

      ryan.a.smith.3958 - 2012-11-29 14:26

      typical useless, thieving government incompetents. they buy all the stuff so they can get kickbacks and look fancy. Zuma probably telling the villagers that we had to buy all those fighter jets and military equipment to prevent us being invaded by Zim. or imperialist USA.

      roger.kaputnick.90 - 2012-11-29 19:37

      Zuma spent more on his Nkandla house than on the whole navy??? How screwed up is that?

      Montagnes.Bleues - 2012-11-30 08:03

      Quite correct - and in any case there is a cockerel, a goat and some cows in the nkandla bunker ready for slaughter so SA is totally safe!nxa

      lucy.bush.9231 - 2012-12-10 16:14

      This is like HEAVEN...Heven got pilots, heven got sailors, heven got muny, heven got spare parts,heven got a army, heaven got brains...HA HA HA...

  • ben.louw.5 - 2012-11-29 13:47

    Spending money on stuff we cant use.... Nope...nothing new there...

  • linda.duits - 2012-11-29 13:47

    What a bloody joke! We are sitting ducks if there has to be an attack on SA!

      gert.theunissen.3 - 2012-11-29 13:55

      JZ will be fine, he has a bunker in is million dollar shack

      jacob.zooma.9 - 2012-11-29 13:58

      I can confirm this.

      fussed.anderson - 2012-11-29 14:01

      Nobody wants to come to a place where every wants to leave

      JanGrimbeek - 2012-11-29 14:17

      You think there's anything worrthwile left in SA to be attacked ? Dont hink any country in their right mind would want to get hold of a bankrupt and corrupt state.

      ryan.a.smith.3958 - 2012-11-29 14:30

      attacked by who ? Zim ? Lesotho ?? Namibia ??? oh wait, if you thinking the Brits or USA then even if we had a competent army we'd be overrun in an hour.

      kortbroek.duplessis - 2012-11-29 14:56

      Depending on who is doing the attacking they can give me a rifle and some bullets and I will help root out this cancer

      honey.deelishus - 2012-11-30 09:00

      specially when half of our Army is paid to protect Zimbabwe and other African Dictatorships!

      maylani.bezuidenhout - 2012-11-30 12:45

      But seriously what will happen if we see the likes of Marekana throughout the country? They are not prepared for the civil unrest that is coming...

  • neutedop.opinie - 2012-11-29 13:51

    But wait, there is money for 2 airforce plains to carry 1 president to New York? And his house could fund 4 anti-piracy efforts!!!!

      andrew.mackie.90 - 2012-11-29 15:08

      Do not forget the times they had to hire jets for D P Motlanthe and Sissulu at great expense. I wonder if they now have money for peashooters??

  • rory.n.price - 2012-11-29 13:53

    Home sick, tragic from most powerful Defence Force in Africa, to pink slippers

  • andrew.collings.94 - 2012-11-29 13:54

    Don't let Zim know about this. We may be invaded

      bibi.vanzyl - 2012-11-29 13:59

      Haha, Zuma obviously knows all this. That is why he has built a bunker in his compound.

      craig.thom.376 - 2012-11-29 14:00

      They already have!

      kortbroek.duplessis - 2012-11-29 14:57

      Too late, most Zimbabweans are here already

      HendrikAfrika - 2012-11-29 17:13

      We have been invaded. Just check on the number of illegal immigrants. They get all the benefits like disability allowances, pensions etc. Why do they need to hoist their flag, it will only involve having to run the country with all its problems. The INVADERS prefer to sit and relax and enjoy the benefits available, let the ANC try and sort out the problems they will never notice that they have already been invaded.

      shaun.cousins1 - 2012-11-30 13:43

      Freaken hell what u mean zims what about the chinese

  • graham.katz - 2012-11-29 13:55

    A beautiful country has been destroyed in 18 years. What ever they touch is F....D!

  • bevan.carpenter.1 - 2012-11-29 13:57

    Well done cANCer, the Gripen hours were probably those flown for the airshows in PTA recently. The country is falling deeper and deeper into an irreversible spiral. these leaders were voted into power by the masses under the belief they would have their best interests and those of the country at heart. Please don't make this error again, our beautiful country will not survive much longer

      narike.lintvelt.9 - 2012-11-29 14:08

      I've started a petition supporting SA's opposition parties' motion of no confidence in Pres Zuma. Please take the time to sign and share this. Thank you.

  • john.turner.58760608 - 2012-11-29 13:58

    It would appear that our armed forces are all at sea figuratively rather than literally. If there is no money for the Defence Force, Education, Health, Roads, etc, etc, I now ask the stupid question "Well where is all our tax money going then???????????????????????????????????????????"

      harry.boyle.75 - 2012-11-29 14:03


      narike.lintvelt.9 - 2012-11-29 14:08

      I've started a petition supporting SA's opposition parties' motion of no confidence in Pres Zuma. Please take the time to sign and share this. Thank you.

      Warren Mudge - 2012-11-29 14:15

      One rather bright chap has recently estimated that there are so many civil servants in middle to upper management positions, earning more than what they should be, that all these salaries account for, wait for it 80% of the total tax income of SARS. That my friend is why the country is f#*ked.

      rocky.bell.98 - 2012-11-29 14:48

      To the fat cats's pockets - where else. It is estimated the anc rulers have wasted R2 trillion since 1994. That is a 2 and TWELVE zeros!!!!! That is about 80 Nkandlas (ZOOgates)!

      kortbroek.duplessis - 2012-11-29 15:06

      88% of your tax money goes to government salaries. So that leaves 12% for the military, hospitals, roads and all other government infrastucture.

  • GregGow1234 - 2012-11-29 13:58

    The Lesotho "D" team has already beaten us previously

  • tertius.aswegen - 2012-11-29 13:58

    Prorection of state information bill will hide these embarressing facts.... no wonder anc pushing it so much

  • dharmesh.dhaya - 2012-11-29 13:58

    and ex defense minister flew around in private planes on SAAF budget and when questioned about it, she goes into a fit of rage?

  • alananthonygreen - 2012-11-29 13:59

    I guess zoooma's house upgrade is more important than national security....

      sandra.j.rennie - 2012-11-29 15:34

      Well he's planning his retirement in advance !

  • Warren Mudge - 2012-11-29 13:59

    We have no frigging money to patrol our coastline or our skies but lo and behold there is enough frigging money to build the joke of a president a secure frigging luxury compound. As long as Zuma is safe stuff the country!!!!!!!!!!

      shaun.cousins1 - 2012-11-30 13:46

      thats ok there willbe nothing to defend zoomaas house...

  • thabob.zumagabe - 2012-11-29 14:01

    “We can’t discuss that in open forums,” she said. Well that is the answer, short and sweet, no need for more info. No better way to say we are f***ed !!!

  • mawandewonderman.mkuba - 2012-11-29 14:02

    Dear COPE

  • Shane Kelly - 2012-11-29 14:02

    what's new

  • rocky.bell.98 - 2012-11-29 14:03

    No wonder: Even the Lesotho Defence Force gave the SANDF a hiding when they attacked Lesotho with helicopter gunships and Ratel APC. The Botswana Defence Force also rushed to their aid. Prior 1994 the SADF was regarded as one of the best armies in the world - today just A National Circus (anc). Submarines lying in Simonstown with flat batteries!! Defence equipment costing this country billions, now moth balled, inoperative and a few fat cats with bank accounts bigger than most African state government bank accounts.. Ja anc..........everything you touch turns to sh*t!

      flysouth - 2012-11-29 23:41

      What a shameful episode that was in Lesotho! 80 SANDF killed I believe - unheard of previously.

  • michael.smit.73997 - 2012-11-29 14:03

    Lets have a vote. Are black people any good at running governments and departments ? im just asking because of all the flourishing african states

      Anathi Matika - 2012-11-29 14:16

      Stop using race to make a point. It's stupid comments like these that makes black people continue to vote for the cANCer. There's plenty of brilliant black people who can run these department, but because they don't support the rulling party they are not given the opportunity to run them.

      michael.heys.3 - 2012-11-29 14:19

      No, but they are very good at striking and toyi toying.

      michael.smit.73997 - 2012-11-29 14:23

      @ Anathi, you are right cos i have a couple of blacks friends who are cool n intelligent guys, but why on earth are the majority of blacks always keeping the thieves in power, i dont understand

      michael.smit.73997 - 2012-11-29 14:25

      @Anathi you are right cos i have a few blacks friends who are cool and intelligent guys, but why on earth do the majority of blacks always keep the thieves in power. i dont understand cos it makes no sense. they will vote them even tho they'll suffer

      siyabonga.phungula1 - 2012-11-29 14:35

      reasoning is better the devil you know than a strange angel.

      gjfnicholson - 2012-11-29 14:39

      They're good at fking things up. They've mastered that art.

      flysouth - 2012-11-29 23:42

      I think that there are black people quite capable - I just do not see them in the ANC!

      richard.zanner - 2012-11-30 14:41

      This should not be a race issue. It is time that SA stops this race Bull and start working together as a nation to rid ourselves of the vermin that are eating away at our very foundations with their theft and corruption.

  • thomas.g.loeser - 2012-11-29 14:04

    just build Nkandla's, go on overseas trips, fly all over the country,buy more arms and ammunition,planes,u-boats,bail out SAA,upgrade/refurbish parlamentary houses, stuff up the judiciary, spend a fortune on investigations, place people on suspension with full pay for a year plus, buy new fancy cars.......... or just bury your head in the sand whilst everything around you crumbles .... and then give yourself and your comrades a pat on the back and a bonus

  • jakes.cakedregs - 2012-11-29 14:05

    Whaddaya expect. Most of the skilled and experienced people were laid off. All the useless Emkays were, however, accommodated in the Defence Force. These parasites only know and can only handle a long list of far calls. Can they defend this country? Do they have discipline? Never in a far king 100 years!

      rocky.bell.98 - 2012-11-29 15:33

      In the early 80's MK (mass killers) declared they were not up to the SADF apparatus and will stay clear not to provoke them.

  • zelda.dickson - 2012-11-29 14:05

    Anything and everything this government touches does not turn to gold, it falls apart. What does that tell you? We HAD a thriving country that has been desicrated.

  • marilyn.edge.3 - 2012-11-29 14:05

    It must be fault of the apartheid government.

  • en.gineer.359 - 2012-11-29 14:07

    Regarding the Air Force, its incorrect to say 173 divided by 26, divided by 3 months to get 2 hours. It's not really about the plane getting the hours, rather the pilots. The number of Gripen pilots have flown way more than 2 hours per months, in these 3 months, since there aren't yet 26 Gripen pilots. In fact Gripen pilots flew more than their quota due to testing of the A Darter missile. Anyways, people should not blame the DOD, rather parliament.

  • kingsley.mgidi - 2012-11-29 14:08

    ja ne, Helen zilla made a point clearly by saying corruption is increasing almost everyday from the top chairs of leades till local, wether is important of not, as long as soo called leaders are happy, is fine with the goverment! ANC is rotten smelly as rotten fish! Sies

      jerome.rothman - 2012-11-29 14:34

      Corruption has become a crime against the Nation.

  • peter.gugelmin - 2012-11-29 14:09

    how do you break a frigate's engine?

      peter.brown.940436 - 2012-11-29 14:16

      The only thing they cant break is a wheel barrow

      JanGrimbeek - 2012-11-29 14:26

      Easy...... give it to new SA pirates (ooops I mean sailors)

      rocky.bell.98 - 2012-11-29 15:35

      Peter Brown wanna bet???? Maybe barbed wire will stand the test.

      rob.bancroft.94 - 2012-11-29 16:59

      And that is only after about 10 years or so! Shows you, those guys will break anything.

      leon.m.delport - 2012-11-29 22:52

      by being useless and incompitant.

  • lenox.ntlantsana - 2012-11-29 14:11

    What exactly is going on here! When is Ms T. Madontsela starting with the SADF extravagant. Mmmmmmmmmh! Mr President what do u know about all this? Please give us a green light. LNN!

      DuToitCoetzee - 2012-11-29 17:12

      Even if you clone the lady into 10 it will not be enough. To much "things" is now going on/to be investigated.

  • garth.philpot - 2012-11-29 14:12

    and if you look just below it, the last bit of news was that Pravin G ok'd secret expenditure for the armed forces at 13 billion rand... I smell a rat !

  • sefako.mokgalaka - 2012-11-29 14:12

    ANC thinks Nkandla is more important.

      jerome.rothman - 2012-11-29 14:20

      Our Government clearly thinks the life of one person is more important then all the crime, murder , rape victims and the safety of the nation

      jerome.rothman - 2012-11-29 14:24

      The ANC served its purpose that ended 1994.Our government are so focused on fixing the past that little is done to secure the future for the next generations.No government and no person on earth can rule till Jesus come. All powers eventually fall and they are the cause of it

  • noxemperor - 2012-11-29 14:12

    so we spend R250m for president's security but we fail to give R126m for security of 50million citizens of this country

      kortbroek.duplessis - 2012-11-29 15:10

      Showerhead thinks he is a god it seems. Mugabe taught him well

  • chiepner - 2012-11-29 14:13

    Well this is the symptom of corruption. Worse is still to come because if JZ gets elected a 2nd time he and his friends will make sure they clean the bottom of the barrel in his last 4 years. They will leave this country in a financial and political mess then safely retreat into the bunkers situated at Nkandla.

  • peter.brown.940436 - 2012-11-29 14:14

    A bloody disgrace ,they just dont give a S&^t

  • shaun.mossop.3 - 2012-11-29 14:14

    This is the effect of our reckless government that can't see past there own greed and now we can't even keep our plains in the air and ships a float.

  • thadelphukem.completely - 2012-11-29 14:16

    Ja just ANOTHER thing about SA that the ANC has destroyed!!! When will the people of SA wake up and vote the ANC out of power??? Amazing they have 100's of millions for street name, parties and Zuma's house but not for our military forces... What a disgrace the ANC is to South Africa!!!

  • dragonfire47 - 2012-11-29 14:17

    Combat rediness bwaaaaaaaaa next joke, I said yesterday that if this country got hit, first the politicions would run to wherever and second ex sadf personell would be called upon or more likeky pick up arms to defend the people of south africa

  • denise.wilshire - 2012-11-29 14:24

    Yet another ANC success story!

  • siyaz.mcitakali.3 - 2012-11-29 14:26

    Let's renovate Nkandla gate for R238m and refuse to give the Army R126m whom we depend on should things get hasty in this country! Idiots, I'm glad I didn't vote for them

  • Jeremy - 2012-11-29 14:26

    This is basically the arms deal stupidity coming home to roost. Why did we need all those new jet any countries to the north of us have anything comparable they could attack us with? No, they dont. As far as I can see we need an army capable of assisting peace-keeping operations in Africa, we need an airforce that can give logistical support - and a navy that can combat piracy and drug and abalone smuggling. But the government went for fancy, hi-tech and completely unnecessary fighters and submarines.....

      leon.m.delport - 2012-11-29 22:59

      Jeremy...who is going to attack a sick county anyway.......LOL.

  • clive.pops.5 - 2012-11-29 14:26

    I doubt that lack of funds is the biggest problem...

  • brendan.healey.315 - 2012-11-29 14:27

    Two words .... Country and F..ked !!

  • kevin.kramer111 - 2012-11-29 14:27

    This is the way of Africa....nothing will change for another thousand years...

  • - 2012-11-29 14:29

    NKANDLA comes to mind.....

      rocky.bell.98 - 2012-11-29 15:42


  • john.morreira.9 - 2012-11-29 14:30

    In the 1970's no less a publication, than the authority on military matters: Jane's rated the SADF as the best unconventional force in the world.Israel's IDF was rated as the best conventional force in the same article. Standards haven't dropped in South Africa, they've been flushed down the toilet,in the name of BBEEE and AA.

      leon.m.delport - 2012-11-29 23:04


  • netswera.livhuwani - 2012-11-29 14:34

    Allan Green must be fired.If i was the president of the republic of South Africa i was first thing going to fire Green,He is a threat to the country,such things as the inability of the army to do certain things should be kept top secret as making it public expose the nation to potential threats from other states that might want to take advantage of the situation.An army strategy is a strategy if it is unknown to the enemy,once known it is no longer a strategy and should be replaced,what kind of a strategist is Green who exposes the National Defense force like this?Is our defense force a joke?

      Jeremy - 2012-11-29 14:42

      He was briefing parliament you moron! He didn't make the Defence Frce what it is. The gov ernment did, by buying the wrong stuff - and then not providing enough money to keep it going!

      Warren Mudge - 2012-11-29 14:59

      Asked and answered, the prosecution rests your honor. There is no defence for stupidity. This guy actually prefers that all the citizens of this country, except a privileged few, remain ignorant to the fact that we are vulnerable as a nation, unbelievable.

      rocky.bell.98 - 2012-11-29 15:47


      alan.jerrold - 2012-11-29 16:25

      netswera - like this isn't common knowledge? One can SEE tha subs are laid up, that frgates are not operating. Any amateur spy could figure this out in a nanosecond. Don't be a freaking idiot man, and shoot the messenger. It's typical ANC tactics and it makes thinking people want to puke.

      rob.bancroft.94 - 2012-11-29 17:05

      Wow, you can be stupid! If we do have any enemies, do you think they need someone in parliament to tell them what a sad state our defence force is in. They knew that long ago, bright spark!

      richard.zanner - 2012-11-30 14:49

      Yes our defence force is clearly a joke but what you are suggesting is that this should again be swept under the carpet. I also do not believe for one moment that any potential enemy does not already know the state of our defence.

  • jason.swanepoel.92 - 2012-11-29 14:34

    What else can this government screw up? What bunch of useless idiots!!

  • ian.despy - 2012-11-29 14:35

    Its time to take the country back to where it should be, who is going to stop the will of the people? The army or police............what a joke.

  • george.larkins.14 - 2012-11-29 14:36

    Again a example that we should STOP paying Income Tax to these thieves.Where are all our Taxes going to??????????????????

      butch.poulter - 2012-11-29 14:48

      And next year SARS will be implementing new legislation to squeeze and increase their income. Oh GOD why cant we as the average citizen put up a united front, like the unions, and stop paying tax in some form or other or do we have to wait until theres f all let? Tell me when and how. I'M IN.

  • shauncro - 2012-11-29 14:37

    And we are surprised?

  • JanGrimbeek - 2012-11-29 14:37

    What about the submarines ? Guess it's not ebven worth the time to mention that they are parked on the bottom of the ocean (for security reasons)

  • tyra.m.makgale - 2012-11-29 14:37

    Wat doez this mean for those who want to join the south african dèfence force?