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Pilot shortages: The Actual Figures

Date: 21 August 2009

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By Dean Wingrin

The vibrant and rigorous debate between the Government and the Democratic Alliance (DA) regarding the state of the Defence Force continued this week when the DA MP and Shadow Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, David Maynier, stated that the shortage of pilots has effectively wiped out the state of combat readiness of the SA Air Force.

Statement s made by Maynier were quoted by, amongst others, the Citizen newspaper and drew an angry response from the Department of Defence (DoD). Both the original Citizen article and the response are quoted in the News section of the website.

In order for readers to get a better insight into the debate between the DA and the DoD, we quote below the actual figures supplied by the DoD to the DA.

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

FOR WRITTEN REPLY

QUESTION No 248

Mr D.J. Maynier (DA) to ask Minister of Defence and Military Veterans:

1) (a) (i) How many posts exist, (ii) posts are vacant and (iii) proportion of posts are vacant and, (b) on average how long have the posts been vacant in respect of (i)(aa)(aaa) helicopter pilots, (bbb) maritime transport pilots and (ccc) combat pilots, (bb) navigators and (cc) air space controllers in the SA Air Force, (iv) engineers in the (bbbb) SA Air Force 

2)  Whether, in respect of each of the above-mentioned posts, she will have to (a) recruit and (b) retain members of the SANDF in order to fill the vacancies; if not, why not; if so, what is the (i) plan and (ii) budget for the 2009-10 financial year?

REPLY

1)  Find attached spread sheet indicating the SA Air Force Status on Posts for Pilots, Navigators, Air Traffic Controllers and Engineers.

2)  (a) In the SA Air Force all vacancies are planned to be filled by means of specific recruitment drives such as (i) the entry through Military Skills Development System as young SA Air Force Pilots, Air Traffic Controllers and Technicians; (ii) the re-appointment of personnel with specific skills; and (iii) to selectively utilise members of the Reserve Force.

(b)  The introduction of unique allowances such as the Military Aviation Career Incentive Pay (MACIP) and the Technical Incentive Payment (TCIP) was done to retain members with specific skills.  It is planned to transfer the remuneration system of members to an Occupational Specific Dispensation (OSD).  The improvement of working conditions also forms part of the current action plan of the SA Air Force.

(i) The SA Air Force develops an annual HR Support Plan, which includes the number of recruitment targets for that specific financial year, which also supports the Strategic Business Plan of the SA Air Force.  The HR plan for the FY 2009/10 for recruitment is 747 Military Skills Development System members and 40 Skilled Members.

(ii) The cost in terms of salaries for these recruitment targets is approximately RM20, and has been provided for in the SA Air Force's HR budget for the FY 2009/10.

SA AIR FORCE STATUS ON POSTS FOR PILOTS, NAVIGATORS, AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLERS AND ENGINEERS

 

Other Posts

Helicopter

Maritime Tpt

Combat

Air Space Contr

Engineers

 

Pilot

Nav

Pilot

Nav

Pilot

Nav

Pilot

Nav

HOW MANY POSTS EXIST

187

9

167

2

156

34

60

6

77

130

HOW MANY POSTS ARE VACANT

50 (26%)

0

58 (34%)

1 (50%)

48 (30%)

16 (47%)

29 (48%)

2 (33%)

29 (37%)

70 (54%)

ON AVERAGE, HOW LONG BEING VACANT

1 Yr

0

1 Yr 4 m

1 Yr

1 Yr

9 m

1 Yr 5 m

6 m

3 Yr

 

 

See Note 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See Note 2

Note 1:  These figures indicate other posts at Staff Level or other Units which are not flying related

Note 2:  There has always been a shortage of graduated Engineers, currently 54% shortage is experienced

 

 


 
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