PRETORIA-- President Cyril Ramaphosa says several ideas are being explored to modernize the funding model for defence spending in South Africa and reduce its dependency on the fiscus.

The leveraging of the economic value of many types of assets of the defence force is under development, alongside improvements in the efficiency of the defence force and the rejuvenation of the defence human resources component, he said when opening the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) 2018 Exhibition at Waterkloof Airforce Base here Wednesday.

South Africa views the role of the military in the modern context as a developmental force, both nationally and continentally, the president said. From a continental perspective, this approach implies that the South African National Defence Force ought to involve itself, with African partners, in peace missions to improve security in strife-torn regions, he added.

President Ramaphosa said improved security attracts investment, encourages growth and promotes development.

In support of continental economic development, the President said, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) forms part of the continental military intervention capability, in the form of regional intervention forces, as well as the centralised capability under the direct control of the African Union (AU).

From a national perspective, the development role of the defence force necessitates involvement in border safeguarding.

Noting that the rapidly growing, migrating and urbanizing populations are putting economies under pressure, he said that in terms of internal security, the defence force must always be ready to provide additional capacity to maintain order and stability within the relevant governance framework.

A defence force that is a developmental force unlocks substantial peace dividends for States and effectively reduces the investment required in defence over time. For both security and developmental reasons, South Africa is looking after its defence industry, which is not only viewed as a Department of Defence asset, he added.

The Africa Aerospace and Defence Exhibition has attracted exhibitors in defence technology and innovation from across the world and showcases the capabilities of armed forces. The event, which will run until Sunday, will showcase leading-edge commercial and general aviation-related technologies, products and related services offered by both local as well as international defence industry players.

The exhibition is staged every two years and is the only aerospace and defence expo that combines both a trade exhibition and an air show. This year, more than 300 exhibitors from 37 countries are taking part in the Africa Aerospace and Defence show.

The organizers have invited 175 official delegations from 47 different countries, 90 of which are expected to attend.


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