Armscor tells Parliament about coronavirus efforts


Solomzi Mbada, the new man at the helm of Armscor, this week gave examples of how the defence and security acquisition agency is assisting in national efforts to combat the coronavirus.

His prime tasking was to present Armscor’s 2020 corporate plan to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV). On completion of this presentation he gave an insight into how components of the South African defence industry are aiding government in keeping coronavirus under control.

Mbada is reported as saying Armscor is using acquisitions, supplies and its research capabilities in these efforts. The Pretoria-headquartered organisation is assisting a number of government departments with emergency procurement; supplying disinfectant and sanitiser to the SA Police Service and collaborating with Denel in manufacturing ventilators. Armscor is also working with Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel’s department on ensuring manufacturers have the correct intellectual property (IP) to make personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks.

On more familiar territory, Armscor is assisting the Department of Defence and Military Veterans (DoDMV) with setting up and equipping tents to serve as military medical facilities for coronavirus patients.

Mbada told the committee the pandemic posed “a risk” to Armscor’s projections. This would see the organisation break even in the current financial year (2020/21) because of “a negative impact on revenue from some projects”.

Mbada’s presentation to the portfolio committee, which defenceWeb has accessed, does not give any information on the only current major acquisition projects under its control. These are Project Biro, for three inshore patrol vessels (originally supposed to be three inshore and three offshore patrol vessels), and Project Hotel, a replacement hydrographic vessel and ancillary equipment.