Department of Defence spending 55% of its budget on personnel

The Department of Defence is spending 55% of its budget on personnel, with R24 out of R45 billion rand of its 2015/16 budget going to salaries for 77 000 people. For the Landward Defence component of the SA National Defence Force, 70% of its budget went to salaries last year. This compares to 47% for the Air Defence Component, 57% for the Maritime Defence component and 74% for Military Health Support. The Department of Defence (DoD) aims to reduce the compensation of employees to 53% of the budget in the next couple of years as part of government’s cost-cutting measures. This is according to the Department of Defence Strategic Plan 2015-2020 and Annual Performance Plan 2016 presentation, which was delivered to the Parliamentary Defence Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military veterans on 4 May. The Department of Defence said that the budget allocation for the compensation of its roughly 80 500 employees is R26.8 billion in FY2016/17, R26.5 billion in FY2017/18 and R27.2 billion in FY2018/19. However, “as part of Cabinet’s decision to lower the national aggregate expenditure ceiling, the department’s compensation of employees’ budget has been reduced by R1.9 billion for FY2017/18 and R2.9 billion for FY2018/19, decreasing its share of the department’s total expenditure to 53.5 per cent by FY2018/19.” This means a projected shortfall of R4 billion over the next three years for the Department of Defence personnel budget.

At the end of the 2015/16 financial year the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) had a total strength of 77 597, comprising uniform and civilian members, with the SA Army its single largest component numbering 40 215. As far as the other three arms of service go the SA Air Force (SAAF) is a distant second with 10 443 people wearing the blue uniform or counted as civilian members. The SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) is third in terms of personnel numbers at 8 145 and the SA Navy, with 7 575 members, brings the number of personnel in the arms of service to 66 378. This is 488 less than the planned number according to the Department of Defence annual report for 2015/16. The 11 219 people not part of the four arms of service are in the support structures of the SANDF. There are 23 of them listed in the latest annual report and they include military policy, strategy and planning (29); the Ministry of Defence (73); the Defence Inspectorate (125); the Defence Secretariat (43); Defence International Affairs (17); Defence Foreign Relations Division (148); the Defence Materiel Division (83) and the Military Ombudsman (45). In number terms the eight largest areas of the SANDF and Department of Defence support structures are the Logistics Division (3 094); the Joint Operations Division (1 966); the Military Police Division (1 609); the Human Resources Division (1 455); Financial Management (832); Corporate Staff (460); Legal Services Division (390) and Foreign Relations (178). The Defence Ministry had 73 people in its employ at the end of the 2015/16 financial year while there were 19 people in the office of SANDF Chief General Solly Shoke.

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