The absence of a permanent chief executive has – and will not – impact on Armscor with the acting chief executive saying “the business continues to run and Armscor will deliver on its mandate to its primary client and key stakeholders”.
Advocate Solomzi Mbada is acting chief executive following the departure of Kevin Wakeford last month. Indications are Wakeford would have remained as chief executive until April while working a six month notice period.
“Armscor would like to assure industry its doors are open for engagement as well as with other stakeholders in delivering on its mandate,” Mbada said, adding the state-owned defence and security acquisition agency would continue identifying opportunities to benefit the local defence industry and “ensure the delivery of capabilities to the primary client (the national defence force)”.
One indicator of work in progress is Armscor’s accreditation as a UN supplier. This, Mbada, said was approved two years ago and Armscor has responded to several tenders. “There are South African companies preparing responses to these tenders.”
While at the helm, Wakeford raised asset sweating, particularly of Armscor properties, as a potential revenue earner. This was partially in response to continued limited budget funding from the Department of Defence (DoD) and aiming to eventually become a self-sustaining organisation, as pointed out in the Estimates of National Expenditure (ENEs) for the 2019/20 financial year.
Four Armscor properties have been identified for asset sweating. They are Gerotek, west of Pretoria; Alkantpan in Northern Cape, the Armscor Sports Grounds in Erasmuskloof and vacant land in the same Pretoria suburb.
In March last year Armscor issued a Request for Proposals (RfP) and invited submissions for all four land parcels. This was to include development plans to generate revenue. The RfP had a three-month life which was extended for a month following requests.
None of the bidders met prequalification criteria and the RfP was declared a no bid.
In September it was again issued with a closing date of October last year. Going forward, submitted bids will be considered and “depending on the outcome” a preferred bidder(s) will be identified. No timeframe is yet available and are dependent necessary approvals being gained by the preferred bidder(s).
As far as finding a new permanent chief executive is concerned, Armscor will follow a recruitment process “the same as it did previously”.
“The position will be advertised and the selection process will be managed by a panel,” Mbada said.