Substantial drop in the SAAF budget
The SA Air Force’s budget for the 2016/17 financial year is R284 million less than it was granted by National Treasury for the previous financial cycle. The Estimates of National Expenditure (ENE) show the airborne arm of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) will have to make do with R6 883 million in the current financial year to do its work. This includes defending and protecting South Africa and its airspace by providing four helicopter squadrons and a combat support helicopter squadron as well as three medium transport squadrons (including one solely tasked with VIP transport), a lone air combat squadron, nine reserve squadrons and 24 hour air command and capability. Air combat in the form of 2 Squadron and its Gripens based at AFB Makhado has been allocated R1.3 billion with air transport and maritime getting R672 528 000 to perform the major work of patrolling South Africa’s coastline and its exclusive economic zone as well as providing airlift both internally and continentally. When inflation is taken into account it works out to a 10% decrease and means SAAF management is going to have to dig even deeper than previously to do the tasks assigned it.