The mess that is South Africa’s army

Date:2 August 2022 Author: Rienk De Beer

In addition to being underfunded and lacking in essential infrastructure and capabilities, the South African army’s administration has been shown to be in complete shambles, with excessive spending and unlawful conduct not being effectively addressed or investigated.

The Sunday Times obtained a copy of the report that details the actions—or lack thereof—taken in response to the AGSA’s conclusions regarding the Department of Defense.

It was discovered that the majority of examinations into the department’s shortcomings did not find that the leadership had reviewed the department’s compliance with supply chain management laws or had taken any of the suggested changes, according to

Key issues raised include the following:

  1. 90 out of 122 fraud investigations yielded no suggested actions;

  2. 833 cases involving alleged misconduct, fraud, and violations have not yet been resolved;

  3. R6.1 billion in unauthorized spending has not been looked into;

  4. R8.5 billion in inefficient and ineffective spending has not been looked into;

  5. With contracts totaling more than R30 million, 171 workers were discovered to be transacting business with the department and other departments unlawfully;

  6. Records keeping is in such disarray that R208 million in contracts cannot even be investigated.


The AGSA sent the study to department heads for input, and the Sunday Times reported that it would eventually be published.

The revelations about the department’s blatant disregard for monitoring and consequence management lay bare the ongoing catastrophe that has decimated South Africa’s defense service.

Numerous ministers in the portfolio have warned that years of cuts to South Africa’s military budget are having a genuine impact on the army’s capacity to defend the nation. The AGSA’s findings, however, make it clear that the money the army does receive is being gravely wasted.

Thandi Modise, the minister of defense and veterans affairs, delivered her department’s budget vote in May 2022. In it, she referred to the critical situation within the department and expressed concern about the high number of qualifying audits it was receiving.

However, she sounded the alarm that more budget cuts posed a threat to the nation, particularly if further violent protests erupted.

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