SA military in ‘critical decline’, says review

South Africa’s cash-strapped armed forces are in a “critical state of decline” that will take at least a decade to fix even with urgent action, according to a military strategy review seen by Reuters.

It said “neglect” of defence capability could impact everything from border security to trade and constrain Pretoria’s continental peace-keeping and diplomatic ambitions.

A regular contributor to United Nations peace missions in Africa, South Africa currently has troops in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan, and its ships and frigates support anti-piracy efforts off Mozambique.

However, the 2014 South African Defence Review says such deployments are under threat. “Even with an immediate intervention, it could take at least five years to arrest the decline and another five years to develop a limited and sustainable defence capability,” the review said.