SANDF soldiers. Picture: REUTERS
SANDF soldiers. Picture: REUTERS

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) says it has taken a decision to find ways of doing things internally because it faces serious budgetary constraints that limit its ability to procure services from outside.

Chief of the SANDF Gen Solly Shoke told journalists on Tuesday that personnel were being trained in Cuba to create internal capacity.

"We felt that outsourcing is not good‚ we should do our own. In May, we took a decision to do things internally because we face serious budgetary constraints‚" he said at a media briefing on the state of the SANDF.

"The Cubans are training our people. There are many being trained in other institutions so that we can have the mastery and stop outsourcing. We are even considering producing our own food so that we [will] be able to survive‚ with these budgetary cuts. If it goes on like this‚ it is going to be difficult."

Rapport newspaper recently reported that an SAA aircraft‚ chartered by the SANDF to transport Cuban technicians‚ had been stopped at Waterkloof air force base after customs officials found R4 and R5 rifles with ammunition aboard. SAA regulations do not permit the transportation of "munitions of war" and the aircraft was prevented from leaving. The SANDF later rejected the report‚ saying the equipment in question were heavy vehicle simulators for training purposes that were cleared by customs and Armscor following due process.

Shoke emphasised that the SANDF had done nothing wrong when moving the equipment to Cuba to train its personnel. "Somebody in our own department decided to leak information that was not correct. These things were not being exported. That is our equipment, which is no longer in use. It is our own equipment. We are training our own people."

About two months ago‚ Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula lamented the decline in the budget of the SANDF‚ saying it was hampering its effectiveness. The budget was slashed by R5.8bn in 2018. Mapisa-Nqakula said if it were assumed that budget cuts would persist‚ urgent steps would have to be taken to create a more sustainable defence capability.