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Assessing and promoting civil and minority rights in South Africa.

[Source: Daily Maverick by Todd M. Johnson.]

South Africa has myriad development priorities and observers are right to ask why the nation should be spending money on its military when sectors such as public education and infrastructure are also in great need of investment. While it is a question worthy of serious consideration by policymakers, a simple answer is that a robust defence capability is required of any nation with aspirations for continental leadership.

South Africa’s martial traditions and military heritage run deep. This fact was fully evident at the City of Johannesburg’s official Remembrance Day commemorations on 11 November 2018, which I had the honour to attend. As this was the centenary of the end of the First World War, the event was particularly poignant and South Africa’s outsized contribution to that horrific conflict featured prominently.

The Remembrance Day tribute to South Africa’s servicemen and women served as a welcome respite from the steady stream of disheartening news about the declining funding and diminishing capabilities of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). The SANDF — composed of the army, air force, navy, and military health service — has faced some of the steepest declines in its budget among all government departments, with its 2018/19 allotment at just under R48-billion (around 1% of GDP) and a reduction of R5.8-billion from the year prior.

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South Africa at a Glance
57 700 000 (mid 2018 estimate)
4.4% y/y in April 2019 (CPI) & +6.5 y/y in April 2019 (PPI)
-3.2% q/q (1st quarter of 2019)
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