Phillip Dexter, who replaced Stanley Motimele as Armscor chair in December last year, reports on three strategies the largely new board of the State-owned defence and security acquisition company is embarking on to mitigate the negative impact of South Africa’s declining defence budget.
He writes in his chairperson’s report for the 2020/21 financial year the strategies also aim at repositioning Armscor as a sustainable organisation.
The strategies Dexter and his fellow board members decided on, following induction and strategic review strategies, focus on commercialisation, partnership and Africa.
By way of explanation he writes the commercialisation strategy “focuses on Armscor as a corporate entity with an intent of conducting business beyond its traditional offerings and prioritising its products and services from the current status to maturity, making them attractive to the market”.
On Armscor and commercialisation, chief executive Solomzi Mbada writes in the third edition of “Inside Out”, the SOE newsletter, it “will serve as a guide” for Armscor to “tap” into commercial markets. This will assist Armscor in achieving “its revenue generating objectives”.
Armscor, according to him, has market ready products. They include the beach barrier and ultrasonic broken rail detector systems as well as Vistanet, a software suite for maritime domain awareness (MDA).
Mbada reassures Armscor’s major client – the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) – it will not be forgotten as the commercialisation initiative gains momentum.
“It is our obligation to provide the SANDF with the state-of-the-art defence materiél required to provide safety and security for South Africa, its citizens and the continent,” the newsletter has him stating.
As far as partnership is concerned Dexter looks to developing them in the defence sector – locally and internationally – as well as Cabinet’s security cluster. This, he opines, will position Armscor capabilities “leveraging on expertise and relationships formed in pursuing strategic initiatives that will generate revenue for Armscor and the defence sector at large”.
The reduced defence budget, when added to the ill-effects of COVID-19, means Armscor needs to be innovative if it is to remain sustainable Dexter intimates.
This approach saw voluntary severance packages introduced, “the organisation streamlined” and re-focussing of various departments.
Dexter’s appointment and that of six new non-executive Armscor board members was confirmed in a statement issued by Cabinet after its November 2020 meeting.
The current Armscor board is Cassius Lubisi, Refilwe Matenche, retired general Chris Pepani, Fundiswa Skweyiya-Gushu, Timothy Sukazi and Peta Mashinini with sitting members TJ Ndhlovu and Motimele, now deputy chair, and Dexter.