SAAF plagued by ill-disciplineDate: 18 July 2012
By Dean Wingrin
The South African Air Force (SAAF) has acknowledged that there is "rampant ill-discipline among members of the SAAF at most of the bases."
This statement is contained in an article compiled by the official magazine of the SAAF, Ad Astra.
Commenting during his annual staff visit to the Cape region in early May, the newly appointed Senior Staff Officer (SSO), Protection Service, Col Thabo Motaung, stated that if the malady of indiscipline was not cured in time, it would paralyse the airforce.
Speaking to members of the protection squadrons, the article quotes Motaung saying that "indiscipline does not feature anywhere in my vision 2018, which would start next year, it would not be tolerated and would be uprooted. There is a new shape in the protection services, with me in it; we would do it as prescribed in the military Code of Conduct."
The severe budget constraints crippling the SAAF is also impacting on the ability of the SAAF to protect its' bases and units.
"I am contemplating suspending the annual staff visits to Squadrons, we might also have to reduce the functional and developmental protection training courses," explained Motaung.
The austerity measures introduced by the Department of Defence will result in no new vehicles being purchased during the current and next financial years. Additional measures include a reduction in "invitations".
"Additionally," Motaung continued, "we would control the internal and external deployments, detachments and re-appreciate the armoured personnel carriers".
The Staff visit also dealt with career development of members of the Protection Services, training and matters relating to internal and external deployments.
Despite Motaung being quoted that he may have to reduce the number of training courses available to members of his Security Squadrons, Maj Ephry Kgoale, SO2 Protection Career Management and Staffing, urged members to try and nominate themselves for courses that guarantee posts.
"Our structure had been and still is in review, one must have the curiosity to identify a career gap and fill it", he said.
It was highlighted further that the Military Skills Development System (MSDS) members were not guaranteed retention or conversion to the core service contract.
"However, we have limited personnel among dog handlers and the VIP protectors. The addition of females would address the representivity levels within the protection mustering," Kgoale added.
The aim of the Staff visit was to conduct and evaluate performance and career management whilst addressing the challenges that face the protection squadrons on a daily basis. The Staff team, comprising of Protection, Logistics Support and Counter Intelligence sections, first visited 526 Squadron at AFB Langebaanweg, then proceeded to 505 Squadron at AFB Ysterplaat and ended off with 525 Squadron at AFB Overberg.
The SAAF had not responded to a request for further information by the time of publication.