Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Defence has called for an urgent parliamentary debate on the role and funding of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

This follows the committee’s oversight visits to KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces where members of the SANDF have been deployed to assist the police in quelling unrest and looting in those provinces.

In their report back to parliament, MPs say they’ve noted the poor state of the equipment of the SANDF due to budget cuts.

They’ve also expressed unhappiness with the lack of strategic airlift capability of the Airforce and its impact on the movement of troops and equipment in support of the police.

MPs have also raised concerns about the level of strategic intelligence provided to the soldiers and the police.

Parliament is expected to resume in the second week of August following the winter recess.

“The committee expressed its concern about the state of equipment of the SANDF and acknowledges that this has been a subject of debate for some time. However, the negative impact of budget constraints on the status of the SANDF’s equipment and the resultant impact thereof was clearly visible. During the most recent oversight visit. In line with the committee’s constitutional mandate to make recommendations on the defence budget and armaments. The committee will request a joint report from the SANDF and the national treasury on critical equipment requirements and the funding thereof,” says defence committee researcher, Wilhelm Janse van Rensburg.

Discussion on the cost of SANDF deployment: