South African National Defence Force

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The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is the name of the armed forces of South Africa. The military as it exists today was created in 1994, following South Africa's first post-apartheid national elections and the adoption of a new constitution. It replaced the South African Defence Force (SADF), and included personnel and equipment from the SADF and the former Homelands forces, as well as personnel from the former guerrilla forces of some of the political parties involved in South Africa, such as the African National Congress's Umkhonto we Sizwe, the Pan Africanist Congress's APLA and the Self-Protection Units of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP).

As of 2004, the integration process was considered complete, with the integrated personnel having been incorporated into a slightly modified structure very similar to that of the SADF, with the latter's structure and equipment for the most part being retained.

The commander of the SANDF is appointed by the President from one of the armed services. The current commander is General Godfrey Ngwenya. He in turn is accountable to the Minister of Defence, currently Mosiuoa "Terror" Lekota.

Recent peacekeeping actions on the behalf of the South African military include an invasion of Lesotho in order to restore the democratically-elected government after a coup, as well as extensive contributions to the United Nations peacekeeping operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi. An operation to Sudan has just recently been started and is scheduled to be increased to Brigade strength in the next few months.

South Africa at one time possessed weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons, but its stockpile was dismantled during the early 1990s. There have been no attempts to build more nuclear weapons.

The SANDF commander consults with members of several councils and committees and chairs the Defence Command Council (DCC), which oversees the defence budget. On the DCC are the four service chiefs, the chief of the National Defence Force staff, the military inspector general, the chiefs of defence headquarters staff divisions, and other key defence officials. Headquarters responsibilities are allocated among six staff divisions--the Finance Division, the Intelligence Division, the Logistics Division, the Joint Operations Division, the Personnel Division, and the Planning Division.

Recently a large-scale programme was launched to re-equip the SANDF, with warships and submarines being purchased in Germany and fighter jets being purchased in Sweden and the United Kingdom. This has been controversial due to the great cost and reports of corruption in the awarding of contracts.

Issues that face the SANDF include a severe shortage of pilots and naval combat officers, due to the replacement of white officers from the former SADF with appointments from the old liberation forces. The loss of trained personnel and the decommissioning of much needed equipment due to funding issues, high HIV-rates amongst personnel and the fact that SANDF infantry soldiers are some of the oldest in the world, all raise questions regarding the current fighting efficiency of the SANDF. Some of these issues are being addressed with the introduction of the Military Skills Development (MDC) programme, as well as aggressive recruitment and training by the Reserve Force Regiments.

[edit] Four armed services

Four armed services make up the forces of the SANDF:

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

South African National Defence Force
Image:SANDF emblem.jpg
Image:SA-Army-badge.png South African Army | Image:SA Navy Badge.png South African Navy | Image:SAAF roundel.jpg South African Air Force
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