News Defence department appoints ‘Save Denel’ team

Defence department appoints ‘Save Denel’ team

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In remarks delivered on behalf of Secretary for Defence Sonto Kudjoe, DoD Director for industry support, Trevor Mketi told a recent Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Conference that “the problems of Denel are giving us sleepless nights and that is why we have appointed the Save Denel technical team.”

The team includes the interim chief executive of Denel, Talib Sadik, Armscor CEO Kevin Wakeford, as well as representatives from the departments of Public Enterprises and Defence.

“DoD has asked Armscor to pay suppliers directly and ordered Denel to centralise all funding from it to avoid money intended to equip our forces with the right equipment at the right time being used for salaries by Denel.”

Denel’s liquidity crisis

Denel is struggling with liquidity and this affects its ability to pay salaries as well as complete projects for the SANDF, said Mketi.

It’s understood that Project Hoefyster (new infantry fighting vehicles for the SA Army) is of particular concern as it is now years behind schedule.

“Denel is receiving capital from the State to stay afloat, and this money is earmarked to service debt and cannot be used for salaries and other expenses.”

In his address to conference attendees, Mketi stated that it is in the DoD’s interest to have a strong and agile defence industry.

“In light of reduced local demand, the sector needs to become leaner and tougher and promote new manufacturing methods, invest in fourth industrial revolution technologies like 3D printing and digital design, diversify into the commercial sector and come up with creative funding mechanisms.”

Unlocking SA’s aerospace and defence potential

The DoD director said South Africa has developed numerous cutting-edge technologies and many competitive products, citing examples in the fields of artillery, self-protection systems, mine-detection vehicles, secure communications, electronic warfare and radar systems, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and guided weapons.

“I hope we can explore ways to unlock South Africa’s aerospace and defence potential, especially as we view the role of the military as a developmental force, both nationally and continentally,” Mketi said

“The DoD is here to support industry, as the industry is not only a DoD asset but a national one with value for other departments and government agencies.”

“We recognise the South African defence industry as our partner in supplying the national defence force with capabilities to protect the sovereignty of our country and for development in general,” Mketi added.

Armscor was originally established in 1968 as an arms production company, primarily as a response to the international sanctions by the United Nations against apartheid South Africa and continued in the post-apartheid era.

In 1992, with the establishment of Denel, many parts of Armscor’s manufacturing missions and functions were changed and redirected to Denel, with Armscor becoming the sole procurement arm of the SANDF.  

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