The South African Air Force (SAAF) has warned that most of its aircraft systems are unavailable after the collapse of Denel.
This was highlighted by the DA’s shadow minister of defense, Kobus Marais, who said Denel’s collapse is threatening SANDF’s defense capabilities.
Citing a letter by the SANDF’s chief director of force development and support, Major General Setete Malakoane, Marais said the situation looked dire.
Malakoane said Denel’s current financial situation has created a loss of capabilities which has impacted the operation of SAAF and led to most aircraft systems being unavailable.
The inadequate supply of spares by Denel for maintenance has resulted in the unserviceability of equipment.
Denel’s decay has also impacted on a lack of ammunition and combat readiness of SANDF, Malakoane said in his letter.
“Denel PMP is the sole supplier for some aircraft cartridges and as a result SAAF combat readiness will be compromised.”
Denel’s financial status further resulted in the loss of morale of personnel due to not receiving salaries.
“The low morale of personnel has a negative impact on SAAF output,” the letter states.
Marais said the letter is alarming and demonstrates the SANDF’s own internal concerns about how Denel’s financial and capacity challenges are threatening the SAAF’s capabilities.
“The collapse of Denel now poses a major threat to SANDF’s operational and defense capabilities,” Marais said.
“This can leave South Africa vulnerable to unwanted threats, especially given the Islamist insurgency in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique.”
The DA has written to the chairperson of parliament’s joint standing committee on defense, Cyril Xaba, to investigate the SANDF’s preparedness to threats in light of Denel’s decay.
The DA has also requested that the SANDF leadership appear before the defense committee.