It could lead to good things for the wider Reserve Force if Major General Roy Andersen, Chief Reserves of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), made contact with the just named new chief executive of Armscor, Solomzi Mbada.
A fruitful discussion around three tenders the State defence and security acquisition agency announced could see Armscor saving money and the Reserve Force providing manpower.
The tenders are for “24 hour security (guarding) services” at six Armscor sites. They are the Armscor Building in Erasmuskloof, Pretoria; the Protechnik Complex in Centurion; the Gerotek Test Range west of Pretoria; the Gerotek Paardefontein Antenna Test Range; Alkantpan Test Range in Northern Cape and the Institute for Maritime Technology (IMT) in Simon’s Town.
During a presentation to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) last year, Andersen revealed the powers that be at the helm of the Reserve Force were looking into what he called the Mzanzi Home Guard. This publication was subsequently informed it was “a concept with much work still to be done”. Indications are it will see Reserve Force soldiers possibly utilised in guarding and securing what is now called “critical infrastructure”, previously known as National Key Points.
Armscor sites and facilities fall into this category as they are not military facilities but the work done at and on them is mostly classified and needs high security.
The question of private security at government facilities, including Armscor, was previously questioned by top military analyst Helmoed Heitman. He told defenceWeb two years ago, when a similar Armscor tender for security services was running, it “could be an outstanding opportunity” for the Department of Military Veterans (DMV).
He suggested then Armscor and the Department of Defence (DoD) look at setting up a security service under the auspices of the DMV. Among the benefits it could provide are effective security by personnel familiar with the national defence force, its requirements and procedures and a career path for mainly junior and senior NCOs too old for their rank but wanting to stay in uniform without further promotion and the added duties.