DA takes issue with SANDF priorities

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) spends 14 times more on peacekeeping operations outside South Africa than it does on supporting the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) fight against crime within the country, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Monday.

According to replies to parliamentary questions submitted by the DA, the SANDF spent R793,3-million on peace support operations during 2005/06, while only R55,5-million was spent on operations in support of the SAPS, DA defence spokesperson Roy Jankielsohn said in a statement

“It is of great concern that while South Africa is in desperate need of all the resources it can get in the fight against crime locally, the SANDF, whose vital secondary task should be to support the SAPS, are putting most of their resources into protecting foreign citizens.

“While it is important that South Africa is involved in supporting peace on the African continent, ensuring peace and security in South Africa should, however, be the government’s first priority.

“While up to 3 000 SANDF troops and even some SAPS members are abroad at any given time protecting foreigners, South Africa is being ravaged by crime,” he said.

Cross-border crime is also a huge concern, and an area where the SANDF could support the SAPS.

“The SAPS are not adequately equipped or staffed to carry out the required borderline control ... Our territorial integrity is being violated by criminals and our security forces are more concerned about the security of foreigners.”

Jankielsohn said it was time government recognised South Africa is involved in a “low-intensity war”, in which criminals armed with automatic weapons are robbing, raping and killing citizens.—Sapa


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