The South African Defence Force (SANDF) has met its gender equity target of having a representation of 30 percent of women in the force.
Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, said her department had set the target for its gender equity in last year’s budget vote.
Speaking on Tuesday in Cape Town during a Budget Vote briefing, she said she was concerned about the demographics at the entry level of the Defence Force, particularly in the army.
“We should never find ourselves in a situation where we have a defence force that is imbalanced, where you have some of the racial groups not represented.
“We want to build a defence force that in five years will still continue to reflect the demographics of society,” Minister Mapisa-Nqakula said.
The reserve force was doing well with about 22 600 reserves deployed in the boarders for boarder safe guarding operations, she said.
Last year, the Ministerial Medical Task Team for the Defence Force presented a report on issues it had uncovered as they were concerns of doctors leaving the department to join other government departments.
Minister Mapisa-Nqakula said issues that were raised by the team included human resources, infrastructure and health care.
“We have been attending to some of the issues that they have raised… We have dealt with that and I am very happy that we established that team because we would not have been able to resolve some of the critical challenges of SANDF,” she said.
The budget for the Defence Force for the financial year 20152016 is R44.5 billion which is approximately 1.1 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Our wish is that in the next five years, the defence budget should be at 2 percent of the GDP,” she said.
Department Deputy Minister Kebby Maphatsoe said the department has set a target to build 1 000 houses for military veterans this year.
“We have already transferred R78 million to the Department of Human Settlements,” Deputy Minister Maphatsoe said.
He called on military veterans who were having challenges to contact the department for assistance.
This year the department will roll out military veterans’ pensions with a budget to cater for 600 people.
Former non-statutory force members who were injured in exile will also receive compensation.
The budget for the military veterans for the financial year 20152016 is R582 million and for the rollout of benefits is R424 million.
Source : SAnews.gov.za