Too little money for soldiers’ salaries

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Copy of ca p15 SANDF Training DONE

Reuters

File photo: SA National Defence Force members participate in a training exercise.

Parliament - The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) is facing a remuneration budget shortfall of over a billion rand, secretary of defence Sam Gulube said on Wednesday.

Briefing Parliament's defence portfolio committee, Gulube said various measures were being put in place so that the shortfall did not affect the country's armed forces.

“For the remuneration of employees we are at about a R1.1b shortfall right now and every month we are going to see how are we doing in terms of reducing that shortfall and at the end of the year, definitely, I'll have to balance the books,” Gulube said on the sidelines of the briefing.

The shortfall would affect performance of future deployments, but would not mean soldiers would stop being paid.

“Right now when you talk about deployments you do on the border, you don't just think about the deployments that are done physically, but you have to think about the companies that have to be there on reserve because they need to take a break. They can't be there forever,” Gulube said.

“At any given time you want to have people who are in the training, people who are in rotation Ä meaning they are in a rest period, and then people who are in deployment.”

The SANDF would have to extend the hours of soldiers currently deployed within and outside the country's borders in order to reduce the shortfall.

“There were times when... the rotations were three months. Now they are six months and we are looking at extending that... to one year for the external deployments,” Gulube said.

It would be cheaper to keep soldiers deployed than to have them relieved by other troops through rotation.

Gulube said the fallout from the shortfall was not affecting morale at this stage.

“Amazingly the morale in the deployed forces has been quite high. Everybody, most of the young members of the defence force, they are always looking forward to using the skills that they developed towards deployments, towards engagement,” he said.

“Those that get into difficulties with morale and passion, will be those who are left behind in supporting roles rather than those who are deployed.”

Gulube said various systems were being put in place to reduce the shortfall.

“When posts are vacant we don't fill them. We encourage people to take voluntary exit mechanisms and also we are looking at the attrition rate.”

Sapa


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