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Defence Sector Charter awaits the attention of the Trade and Industry Minister

Defence Industry charter with Minister DaviesDefence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula has signed off on the Defence Sector Charter and it now awaits the attention of Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.

“The Charter was adopted by the steering committee on January 31 this year, approved by Minister Mapisa-Nqakula on March 31 and submitted to the Trade and Industry Minister on the same date, “said Lulu Mzili, General Manager: Marketing And Business Development at Armscor, which acted as the secretariat for the Defence Sector Charter steering committee.

Charter steering committee chairman Trevor Mketi said in March the drafting process was a collaborative one aimed at developing a charter tailor-made for the South African defence industry.

“From the outset our objective was not to use a generic charter, but to develop an original version applicable to the unique requirements of our industry and also take into account particular groupings such as military veterans. We have achieved that and now have a dynamic and unique fit-for-purpose document,” he said.

Work on the Defence Sector Charter started more than two years ago and it will again be released for public input by Minister Davies’ department before being gazetted as an official BBBEE charter. There was, at the time of publication, no indication of when the Department of Trade and Industry would put the document into the public domain. A 60 day public comment period is required by the BBBEE Amendment Act.

The Charter aims to open up the defence industry to particularly women and military veterans in the form of small and medium-sized enterprises but the SA Legion of Military Veterans maintains the steering committee did not use the “agreed and adopted definition” of military veterans in drafting the document. As it stands the Charters appears to exclude veterans from the former SA Defence Force. In addition to the SA Legion the trade union Solidarity also maintains it is wrong.

“There can be no grounds for the exclusion of military veterans or pensioners that fought on the side of the former SADF. Without them and the efforts of those before 1994 there would have been no real defence industry in South Africa,” Solidarity deputy chief executive Johan Kruger said.

Legionnaire Godfrey Giles, national president of the SA Legion of Military Veterans, has written to the Defence Minister; Secretary for Defence, Dr Sam Gulube and the acting director general of the Department of Military Veterans Max Ozinsky, about the incorrect definition of military veterans in the Charter. He said he will also be setting up a platform when military veterans can register their opposition to the charter as it currently stands.

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