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Pretoria - The newly-formed SA National Defence Force was crippled by lack of equipment, the Seriti Commission of Inquiry heard on Tuesday.
Rear Admiral Alan Green addressed the commission on the rationale behind the controversial strategic defence procurement package and the use of the equipment acquired.
When the new dispensation came in 1994, the SANDF was established in place of the old SA Defence Force (SADF).
“We were then in a position where all of us were integrated into the SANDF. The primary equipment we had at the time was from the SADF and that equipment was at the end of its life cycle. That was due to the sanctions that were imposed on the country prior to '94,” he said.
After democracy, there was a need to rejuvenate the defence force's equipment.
“During that period I served in the navy and I don't have first-hand information about the precise state of equipment in the air force. However, I was aware that they also required rejuvenation,” said Green.
“Any equipment used extensively requires extensive maintenance Ä our equipment had been extensively used both at sea and in the air. That is why I said there was dire need for equipment.”
On Monday, evidence leader Ramagaga Matshego said government departments and entities would be called to testify on their roles in the arms acquisition process.
She said the SA Navy, SA Air Force and arms procurement parastatal Armscor would address the commission on the use or non-use of the equipment.
The trade and industry department is set to give evidence on the creation of jobs and offsets which were anticipated to flow from the arms deal.
President Jacob Zuma appointed the commission in 2011 to investigate alleged corruption in the 1999 multi-billion rand arms deal.