Armscor presented a comprehensive three year, three phase renewal for the Simons’ Town dockyard to the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans with the by now standard disclaimer “funding remains a challenge”.
Six challenges, including the declining defence allocation (in the national budget) directly impacting on maintenance and repairs of the SA Navy (SAN) fleet, are listed. The dockyard, according to the presentation, supports four frigates, three submarines, four “fast attack craft” (OPVs); a support vessel, a hydrographic vessel, five tugs, “mine counter vessels” and various small boats.
Other challenges cited are “bureaucratic procurement prescripts” from National Treasury and the Department of Defence (DoD) causing delays in parts acquisition; “slow” progress by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DWPI) on facilities improvement and that dockyard culture “must move to output driven, service delivery”.
Armscor acknowledges it gives preference to SAN projects with the “shortfall in funding supplemented through commercial work”.
The State-owned defence and security acquisition agency which has managed the dockyard since 2007, after its proposed move to Denel in 2015 was set aside, told the PCDMV output to the SAN increased in the previous financial year “despite budgetary constraints”.
Renewal of people, equipment, facilities, training, processes and “several lost capabilities is in progress” while maintenance of ageing equipment is a priority via “proper structured plans”.
On the credit side of the ledger, as it were, Armscor reported 10 what it terms “key successes”.
These are ISO 9001 certification, with ISO 45001 14001 in progress; accreditation of employees and facilities; compliance with SAN agreements; establishment of the next three year memorandum of agreement; commercial initiatives; submarine refit restarted; BBBEE performance; capability and infrastructure renewal and “maintenance efforts with funding received”.
The presentation showed dockyard improvement initiatives organised into six strategic plans. They are human resources, finance (including capital expenditure), operations, market development (revenue generation), stakeholder engagement and procurement transformation. These in turn are sub-divided into 20 projects and sub-projects. Progress, the PCDMV was informed “is good and it changes annually as tasks are completed and new tasks added”.