Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula File picture: Oupa Mokoena/Independent Media
Parliament – The South African army was continuing to lose some of its essential capabilities and was hamstrung from dealing with infrastructure problems, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said as she again advocated for a doubling of the defence budget.

Delivering her department's budget, Mapisa-Nqakula said pressures on the fiscus meant the defence budget had continued to decline. "In reality, the Defence allocation has been declining by 5% per annum in real terms over the last 20 years, to a mere 1% of the GDP.

Meanwhile, the appropriate funding level as articulated in the Defence Review 2015 would require a steady state increase to at least 2% of GDP over time," she said.

This was affecting the military's ability to buy and maintain the equipment needed for it to do its job. The budget cuts would also affect border security.

"Notwithstanding challenges in border safeguarding, the SANDF continues to register substantial operational achievements, particularly in the area of stock theft, recovery of stolen vehicles, and prevention of cross-border crime," said Mapisa-Nqakula.

"It is still my intention that the required number of companies deployed must increase from 15 to 22, as per plan, and to make our borders more secure.

This, however, is impeded by the continuous reductions in the defence budget."

African News Agency