,

South Africa’s army chief says budget cuts hampering peacekeeping missions

South Africa's army chief says budget cuts hampering peacekeeping missions

The South African army on Tuesday said budget cuts are hampering national defense operations and its ability to participate in peacekeeping missions abroad.

Chief General of the South African Army, General Lindile Yam strongly criticized the government for lack of funds, saying the army was even struggling to buy uniforms.

“There is a danger approaching, and no one seems to realize it. Even the intelligentsia of this country does not seem to be up to the task”, Lieutenant General Lindile Yam said.

There is a danger approaching, and no one seems to realize it. Even the intelligentsia of this country does not seem to be up to the task.

A few days earlier, Defense Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said funding problems were due to the fact that the post-apartheid government was giving priority to spending on poor and hitherto neglected Black communities.

As an African military power, South Africa has deployed troops in peacekeeping operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Darfur region of Sudan.

It is currently deploying about 1,300 soldiers as part of a UN intervention brigade in conflict-ridden eastern DRC. The South African military also assisted with election materials in countries like Madagascar.

“We have been to the Comoros, we have been in many places, we have helped for elections in other countries, Madagascar, the DRC and all that. But we don’t have the ability to do that right now. We can’t do that. So we will also lose our credibility as the nation of the African renaissance”, he added.

South Africa is still awaiting the presentation of its mid-term budget by the new Finance Minister Tito Mboweni on Wednesday.

AFP