OK, you can all sleep safely now.

So, South Africa wants to spend another R20 billion ($3 billion) on a new ground-to-air missile defence system. This in itself is not really the problem, it’s WHO we are buying it from that caught my attention. The system is being supplied by Denel with Thales Air Defence as the subcontractor. Remember Thales? “Thales is regarded internationally as an instrument through which French governments have subverted democracy and whose agent (Schabir Shaik) has been found guilty of bribing former deputy president Jacob Zuma,” says Eddie Trent of the DA.

Well, what’s another R20 billion you may ask. Hell, you could only build one or two new soccer stadiums for that price. That’s of course unless the wakkers don’t go on strike again. Anyway my questions on this dubious transaction are as follows;

Why are we still dealing with a company linked with arms deals corruption?

Why do we need a R20 billion ground to air defence system?

Who are we expecting to be invading us in the near future, other than the millions of Zimbabweans crawling under the fence?

Who is going to be trained to man (woman) this system? Remember the anti-aircraft gun accident that killed 9 soldiers and injured another 11 in October this year during a training exercise? Although officially blamed on “robotic rampage”, I think it just amounted to pure incompetence, lack of training and human error. Imagine if some partially-trained, affirmative-action operator fired the new ground-to-air missile in error and wiped out Harare by mistake? (mmm, imagine?) I think the human element, even in the most automated of systems is vital.

And don’t tell me that training will eliminate any risk. What do we do if we can’t pass our exams? Oh, we just shoot the instructors, as happened two weeks ago. One instructor was killed and a second is still in a critical condition in 1 Military Hospital after an air force candidate officer opened fire on his instructors after failing his exams. And why do we shoot our instructors? Well according to the South African Security Forces Union (Sasfu), “it is an indication of the outstanding transformation work still needed in the defence force. There are still racial divides and, most importantly, there is a big misalignment between the top management and the middle management in the Department of Defence, which is affecting the rank and file.

I am not sure whether to laugh or be very angry.

Why do we have a spare R20 billion lying around when we have a massive housing and infrastructure backlog? If we have 20 million taxpayers (which I’m sure we don’t) that means that we are coughing up R1000 each just for this one project. I’d rather spend my R1000 on ten cases of beer and have a good party.

Be Safe



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