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S.Africa carries out defence policy review

South Africa is carrying out its first defence policy review in 13 years in a bid to address new security threats such as shipping piracy, the defence minister said Tuesday.

“We are hoping that it will wind up this year because it is long overdue and I would like to make sure that we could implement the recommendations as soon as possible,” Lindiwe Sisulu told journalists.

Threats like piracy and border security were not included in the last review, in 1998, and significant portions of that report were “completely outdated”, she said.

South Africa’s annual defence budget currently stands at 38.4 billion rand ($5.4 billion, 3.8 billion euros), and Sisulu has been vocal in calling for an increase.

The review will focus on strategy and should inform future budget needs, said review committee chairman Roelf Meyer.

“When the previous review was done, it was in a different environment globally to what it is today,” said Meyer, a former apartheid-era cabinet minister who helped script the country’s democratic constitution.

“I think all of what is happening today on the continent, in the north of Africa and in the Middle East, have to be part of what we need to take notice of as far as the forecast is concerned.”

The new review, which has a 6.2-million-rand budget for the year, will be presented to President Jacob Zuma’s cabinet and parliament.