Army chief fires warning shots over budget cuts

The military said this week that budget cuts have hampered its defence capacity at home and its ability to participate in foreign peacekeeping operations.

National army chief Lt-Gen Lindile Yam sharply criticised the government for the funding shortage, saying the army was even struggling to buy uniforms.

“These budget cuts impacts negatively on our force operations efforts,” Yam told journalists at the army headquarters in Pretoria.

“There is a danger coming that seems no one is seeing here.”

Yam said the army’s defence budget was 28% of the GDP during apartheid, but has been whittled down to less than  1% of the GDP.

“We have gone to less than 1% and maybe we are going to zero, I don’t know,” said Yam, saying politicians were playing “dangerous games” with the budget.

Defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has previously said that funding problems had been caused by the post-apartheid government prioritising spending on previously neglected poor black communities.

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