The senior officer cadre of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) communications component, officially the Directorate: Corporate Communication (DCC), employed a barely plausible excuse to deny defenceWeb a credible response to a media enquiry.
Six months ago the grandiosely termed extended army command cadre (EACC) of the landward force met for a conference in Potchefstroom, widely seen as provincial military capital of North West. Generals and senior officers had the opportunity to see “concept designs” of the proposed new work dress (widely called the “camouflage uniform”), headwear and boots.
Reporting on the new work dress, defenceWeb used the response to a Parliamentary question by Nosisive Mapisa-Nqakula (now National Assembly Speaker) as regards the new footwear.
This was seemingly seized on by DCC to avoid having to reply to defenceWeb’s question of whether the new dress, head and footwear would be rolled out as planned by year-end.
Brigadier General Mafi Mgobozi, DCC director, informed this publication: “The SANDF cannot comment on the response to the parliamentary question posed to the former Minister of Defence, such question can be addressed to the appropriate and applicable office”.
As far as the new footwear is concerned, they are apparently still undergoing “wearer trials” ahead of “a comprehensive report” on performance.
Surely it’s not asking too much for the spin doctor corps at SANDF headquarters to speak with Chief: Army Force Structure, who informed the EACC on the status of the new dress, to ask if soldiers will be in new work dress by year-end.
That DCC knows of and about the new work dress project is clear from the last sentence of the official reply to the defenceWeb enquiry.
It reads: “The uniform improvement project of the SA Army as stated is still a project and the images of the selected uniform will be unveiled during an open media session to be announced soon”.
That, in a nutshell, shows there is progress but military communicators seem to think it should be kept under wraps and away from those whose taxes pay for the national defence force.