PRETORIA, In her budget speech, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula described her department's financial woes as a a serious mismatch between the current funding allocation and the expectations placed on the department of defence.

Budget constraints have crippled the SA National Defence Force, forcing it to refrain from performing its key functions, which are defined by Defence Review 2015 as the strategic need for maritime capability.

The word maritime is mentioned 215 times in a 344-page document and alludes to capabilities such as fighting piracy, terrorism, smuggling, human trafficking, poaching and illegal fishing, as well as combating oil pollution.

The review describes maritime insecurity as one of six prominent drivers of African insecurity.

The others are competition over scarce resources, poverty, underdevelopment, poor human security and endemic diseases.

According to the UN, South Africa's maritime responsibilities include the oversight of a sea surface area.

This translates to the sea's entire volume, from surface to ocean floor, which in some parts is more than 11km deep.

This area is more than 12 times the country's land surface area.

It extends beyond the three Economic Exclusion Zones (EEZ) of Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.

And a third of the EEZ is located around the Prince Edward Islands, comprising the two small islands of Prince Edward and Marion, in the southern Indian Ocean.

The national defence force is therefore obliged to assist in all search-and-rescue and recovery operations from Cape Town to the Antarctica in the south, as well as from Prime Meridian in the west to the Prince Edward Islands.

Its functions include assisting survivors of civil aircraft accidents and helping in the event of forced landings and ditching � a term describing crash-landing into the water by an aircraft not designed for the purpose.


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