SA Defence Dept unable to police criminal activities at sea due to budget cuts

According to secretary of Defence, Dr Sam Gulube, the funding in the department has not been sufficient for the department to honour its national commitment according to the Constitution, especially its maritime responsibilities.

He says that part of these responsibilities is to make sure that our coastal lines are protected and pirates don't get to take from our seas, but with budget constraints the patrolling of the coasts is limited.

Many analysts have indicated that South Africa is not benefiting from its very rich ocean resource because of illegal fishing.

Dr. Sam Gulube, secretary of Defence

Ngulube says Minister of Defence Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula is also not happy with the budget cuts but they do understand that the country is facing other pressures in the health and education sectors.

He says the department gets less than 1% of the GDP from state which is not sufficient to perform all the duties outlined in the Defence Review document.

Programme Officer at World Wildlife Fund (WWF), John Duncan, says he doesn't believe that the country needs more naval operations. He says what the country needs is smaller crafts based all over the coast operated by the department of Fisheries or Environmental affairs.

According to Duncan, its highly unlikely for pirates to come into our seas in big vessels, steal and sail out without being spotted. It is the local people that are doing the criminal activities and that's were the focus should be.

I don't really think there's a need to focus on offshore patrols in South Africa as it stands.

John Duncan, Programme Officer at World Wildlife Fund

To hear more of this interview, listen below:

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