If you’re wondering how much the COVID-19 pandemic is costing South Africa, the Defence Ministry has published its latest financial figures here.
In truth, the battle against COVID-19 won’t just be something we face in 2020. It will take years for an economic recovery to take shape, and a vaccine remains out of reach for the time being. But figures from the Department of Defence (DOD) highlight how much the response to the pandemic has cost so far.
‘Operation Notlela‘ was established to give SANDF and its senior structures a clear path to tackle the scourge of coronavirus. They were given billions by the Treasury to formulate a response, with responsibilities ranging from the procurement of PPE to the deployment of soldiers on the street. According to a presentation to the Portfolio Committee on Defence, more than R4.5 billion has been spent by the ministry so far:
“The Department of Defence (DOD) submitted an estimate of R4.59 billion as a requirement for COVID-19 ‘Operation Notlela’. The DOD declared an amount of R1.136 billion as a reprioritization from within the existing allocation, on instruction from the National Treasury to all national departments.”Defence Minsitry’s presentation to the Portfolio Committee
Surprisingly, expenses such as ambulance procurement and the fees for our contingent of Cuban doctors fell under the Defence Ministry’s remit. Items such as PPE, body scanners and disinfectant tunnels ran-up costs into the tens of millions. Some of the more eye-catching costs include: