Committees urges Defence Dept to spend tech procurement budget

26th May 2023 By: Lumkile Nkomfe

On Thursday, the Joint Committee on Defence urged the Department of Defence (DoD) to invest in technology in order to safeguard the nation's borders following revelations that the DoD’s budget for the procurement of technology was not spent owing to procurement challenges.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) was allocated about R225-million for the procurement of vehicles and border technology.

Despite intentions to deploy technological capabilities as force multipliers, the committee has raised concerns over the procurement challenges.

“The inability to procure negates the good plans and does not aid the South African National Defence Force in its operations along the borderlines. It is on this basis that we urge the SANDF to streamline procurement processes and remove any impediments,” said committee co-chairperson Cyril Xaba.

Despite challenges, the SANDF has procured three multimission patrol vessels in the medium term, with the first to be operationally deployed this year. 

The committee believes this will enhance maritime safeguarding, however, it says efforts to deploy technology in the form of sensors and radars must receive greater focus going forward.

The committee is urging optimised collaboration between the South African Police Service and the Border Management Authority to mitigate capacity shortages and encouraged deployed soldiers to “continue their impressive work” as the challenges are attended to.