Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Defence force missing 15% key personnel

Good gawd, our friend Charlie "fuck off" Nkakakula is our new munista of defence. Well, seeing as he did such a sterling job in effing up the police, care to wager the state of the already pathetic SANDF in say, a year? It may not even take him that long.

That's right, give Charlie boy the keys to our spanking new subs and frigates and what could go wrong, right? Right?

Let's hope Mauritius doesn't decide to attack us.

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According to the 2007/2008 Defence Annual Report released this week, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is facing serious vacancy issues in key defence areas, which may be compromising our national security.

The new Minister of Defence, Charles Nqakula, must show that he means business by telling South Africa what he intends to do to resolve the problem.

Overall, the SANDF has a vacancy rate of 15.30% with the following critical programme vacancies:

* 37.45% in Defence Intelligence;
* 30.32% in Joint Support (peace support operations). If all the fit and combat-ready soldiers are out of the country, this, coupled with a high vacancy rate, compounds the problem of force readiness;
* 30.08% in Force Employment; and
* 16.20% in Air Defence.
The most critical occupations vacancy rates are:
* 42.75% in engineers;
* 36.95% in aircrew;
* 30.79% in air space control;
* 27.24% in anti-aircraft.
* 26.84% in nursing; and
* 18.50% in artillery.
What these vacancy figures mean is that our military force's readiness and capacity to respond to internal and external requirements is substantially compromised.

Not only are we facing serious issues with equipment suitability and resource shortages, but our day-to-day military functions are also not operating at full capacity. Such vacancy issues must also be affecting our ability to make use of the Arms Deal procurements.

People with skills and expertise are leaving the SANDF for greener pastures. With better retention strategies, we could be motivating such people to stay, instead of incurring the costs of replacing them.

Last year alone, more than 6,700 people left the SANDF and 1,660 of these were from critical occupations.

While the Military Skills Development System seeks to recruit and train new entrants into the military, these entrants have little
or no experience, and are no substitute for departing personnel with years of work and combat experience.

Statement issued by Rafeek Shah MP, Democratic Alliance spokesperson on defence.

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