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Sisulu launches SA Defence Industry Council at Defence Industry Day

Ian McNeil, Technical Director at VR Laser Services and Benny Jiyane, VR Laser Chief Operating Officer talk to defence minister Lindiwe Sisulu at the fifth annual Defence Industry Day in Pretoria.Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Lindiwe Sisulu, has launched the South African Defence Council as the highest-level body between the defence industry and the Department of Defence (DoD), at the fifth annual Defence Industry Day in Pretoria.

Sisulu for the first time addressed key stakeholders from the defence industry and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) at the CSIR International Convention Centre in Pretoria yesterday. She was accompanied by a high level delegation that included Secretary for Defence Dr Sam Gulube, Director–General of Military Veterans Tsepe Motumi and SANDF chief General Solly Shoke.

“I am very pleased to confirm that today marks the launch of the SA Defence Industry Council, which will meet quarterly under the stewardship of the Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Mr Thabang Makwetla,” Sisulu said. The Council will be the highest consultative body between the defence industry and the Department of Defence on matters of policy formulation and compliance, export support, armaments acquisition and joint planning.

The Council will consist of the Secretary for Defence and DDGs responsible for Acquisition and Industry Governance, the Chief of the SANDF, the CEO of Armscor and the Defence Industry representatives as designated by the AMD Board. When required, officials from other government departments will be invited to the Council.

“For me this day marks the day when the Department of Defence commits to partner with the defence industry,” Sisulu said. “This time we do actually mean business.”

“I’m hopeful in future we can turn this day into a more concrete one both for defence exhibitors and for the defence industry to know what the DOD’s requirements are,” Sisulu stated yesterday. She said that there is a perception that the Department of Defence drags industry around on a string but doesn’t say what its requirements are. “This will require significant change in the way we do business.”

She suggested changing the Defence Industry Day to after the budget has been accepted and approved, as only then can the DoD and industry engage and have the partnership it’s been craving. “Meaningful discussion can only take place after the budget ahs been approved,” the minister said.

“When my programme allows I will act as ambassador to the defence industry,” Sisulu said, but asked the defence industry on their part to prioritise the SANDF. “As long as you operate within the law, I am by your side.”

Sisulu said that to this end, the ministry of defence has in the last few months, successfully assisted the industry to either secure contracts or access markets in countries like Benin, Ecuador, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Botswana and South Sudan. “As you may be aware, we are also hard at work exploring collaborative prospects with partners in IBSA as well as directly with Russia and Argentina. We will continue with these activities and hope to see some tangible results by the time we gather for the AAD in September this year.”


“I am certain we can achieve far greater benefits, grow the economy, create jobs and keep the defence force supplied with quality products. And in the national interest, you will prioritise us above all else.”
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