Criminal Asset Recovery Fund, not fiscus, to fund SANDF’s war on illegal mining

The Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans has claimed…

The Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans has claimed that the deployment of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in support of the South African Police Service to counter illegal mining at an estimated cost of R492-million is currently unfunded as of November last year.

In the 2024 Budget Review, released on February 21, the committee said that this deployment remained unfunded owing to no funds being allocated in the 2023 adjusted estimates.

The committee called on Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana to ensure that the Department of Defence (DoD) was sufficiently funded for all additional deployment requirements and that he should provide the committee with information on how this deployment would be funded.

National Treasury, however, declined to allocate funding from the fiscus for the deployment of the SANDF to support the SAPS in countering illegal mining activities, noting that the operation should be funded through the Criminal Asset Recovery Account (CARA), which is administered by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.

Final allocation decisions on CARA are made by Cabinet and thereafter communicated to qualifying departments.

An amount of R150-million from the CARA was previously earmarked over the past three years for the DoD in support of the SANDF deployment.

National Treasury reminded the DoD that, before the deployment, it was made aware that funding related to it would be strictly funded by CARA and not the fiscus.

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