Tragic re­sults of arms deal folly

Weekend Witness - - Opinion -

THE fi­asco of our troops, un­der at­tack and semi-stranded in the Cen­tral African Repub­lic, leaves me sad and con­cerned for them, but em­bar­rassed and an­gry for our coun­try.

Most or­di­nary South Africans know that the Gripen jets and the sub­marines bought in the arms deal were fancy boys’ toys of no par­tic­u­lar value to our de­fen­sive needs and cir­cum­stances. Did we need them to drive off pos­si­ble at­tack by the Zim­babwe navy or air strikes from Le­sotho?

Rather, our de­fence force needs boots, re­li­able weapons, am­mu­ni­tion, or­gan­i­sa­tion and lo­gis­tics, ar­moured ve­hi­cles, troop car­ri­ers, at­tack and trans­port he­li­copters and trans­port aero­planes, and roughly in that or­der of pri­or­ity.

All the above could have been paid for sev­eral times over with the money wasted on the boy-toy ego trip and the per­sonal en­rich­ment that clearly drove the arms deal. More and more we reap the tragic con­se­quences of the arms deal folly. W. NEL Bal­lito

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