SA’s defence budget continues to contract in real terms. According to the latest budget figures, defence and state security spending is expected to amount to R54bn in 2017-18, up from 2016’s R52bn. Spending is set to increase to just over R56bn in 2018-19 and about R60bn in 2019-20. Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan delivered his 2017-18 budget in Cape Town on Wednesday. This is an average growth of 4.7% over the medium-term expenditure framework. According to the budget review, there have been allocations of R4.1bn and R1.4bn to support peacekeeping operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo and antipiracy operations in the Mozambique channel respectively. A total of R951.6m has been reprioritised within the department to cover the growing costs of essential medicine and medical supplies for South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members, their dependants and retired military personnel. Experts have warned previously budget cuts for defence would be disastrous for the SANDF...

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