On a wing and prayer: grounded SA fighter jets mirror a flawed system
The SANDF is its own worst enemy — its propensity to shoot itself in the foot time and again is exasperating
I’ve been a harsh critic of the ANC over the years, but even I have to give credit where it’s due and admit that the government has managed to do what Hitler’s Luftwaffe, North Korea, the Soviet Union, China and Cuba couldn’t: put every single fighter pilot in SA out of action.
The report by defenceWeb this week, revealing that SA’s fleet of Gripen fighters has been grounded for the past three months due to budget cuts and bureaucratic delays, with half cannibalised for parts for the other half, will have come as a terrible shock to almost nobody except Cyril Ramaphosa.
Defence experts have been warning of a funding crunch since 2016. Two years ago the press was reporting on the desperate straits in which the navy was finding itself, with its new warships sometimes unable to leave port because of a lack of fuel. Just last month we read that rations meant for SANDF troops deployed in Mozambique had rotted in storage...