SANDF proposal for border security inadequate – Maynier

The Democratic Alliance (DA) believes that the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Lindiwe Sisulu, should reject the defence force’s hopelessly inadequate proposal for taking over the borderline security function in South Africa.

The fact is that if the defence force’s proposal is implemented there may be: fewer members of security services patrolling our borders; less money spent on borderline security; and as a result our borders could be less secure – not more secure – in the 2010/2011 Financial Year.

This raises serious doubts about whether our borders will be properly protected during World Cup 2010.

A decision was taken by cabinet last year that the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) would take over responsibility for borderline security from the South African Police Service (SAPS).

Last week the portfolio committee on defence and military veterans received a briefing on “Operation Corona” – a proposal to redeploy the military on our landward borders in phases between 2010 and 2014 – by members of the SANDF.

If the proposal is approved, then from 01 April 2010 the defence force will: begin deploying approximately 540 soldiers on the South Africa/Zimbabwe and South Africa/Mozambique landward borders; and spend approximately R135 million on borderline security during the 2010/2011 Financial Year.

These numbers are hopelessly inadequate to secure the landward borders of South Africa.

If we assume that the police will be pulled back from the borders, then there will be: fewer soldiers – 540 – on the borders in 2010 than there were police – 648 – on the borders in 2008; the defence force will spend less in 2010 – R135 million – than the police spent in 2009 – R225 million – on borderline security; and the South Africa/Namibia, South Africa/Botswana and South Africa/Lesotho borders will not be protected.

His is clearly a step backwards and a recipe for less security on our borders – not more security – in 2010.

It also means that there will be: approximately 3240 less soldiers patrolling our borders in 2010 than there were in 1994; and approximately 1215 less soldiers patrolling our borders in 2010 than there were in 2001.

Moreover, in terms of the proposal we will have approximately 1350 fewer soldiers patrolling our borders in 2010 than the defence force would like to have patrolling our borders in 2014.

In 2004, the National Intelligence Estimate reported that: “the single most important security challenge facing government on the domestic terrain is the state of security at borders and ports of entry into South Africa.”

The fact is that borderline security is a huge gaping hole in the national security of South Africa.

The DA will therefore call on the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Lindiwe Sisulu, to reject the proposal in its current form, and to find a way to deploy more soldiers more rapidly on the landward borders of South Africa.

Source: www.politicsweb.co.za, 20100222

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