The Gerotek test facility is probably the best South African example in the swords to ploughshares category having successfully transitioned from pure military to multi-purpose with civilian input now the major component.
In addition to providing various vehicle testing services for leading vehicle manufacturers the Pretoria West facility is home to a well-utilised conference facility. It is also one of the Armscor properties identified for asset sweating, along with two portions of land adjacent to the Armscor headquarters in Erasmusrand, Pretoria, and the Alkantpan test range in Northern Cape.
In its latest annual report Armscor notes “Gerotek has the strategic role to support the South African Department of Defence and Armscor, in terms of test and evaluation of defence related products and systems, as well as to maintain key strategic capabilities.
“Gerotek further complements its funding requirements offering services and facilities to commercial clients in the military, vehicle and related industries, by providing available capacity to the market.”
Other services available at Gerotek include advanced defensive driver training, corporate events, restaurant and track facilities to maximise utilisation of “a world-class facility and increase growth opportunities” according to the annual report.
Highlights of the 2018/19 financial year were: development testing of new BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Smart vehicles; providing testing services for commercial passenger vehicles, trucks, mining and agricultural vehicles at the Gerotek facility and on public roads and co-hosting South Africa’s second autonomous vehicle conference. Tyre manufacturers including Dunlop, Bridgestone and Nokian also made use of Gerotek test facilities.
Gerotek was also used for new vehicle launches by manufacturers and marketers including Scania, Isuzu, MAN, Ford, Haval and UD Trucks. The facility was also used for vehicle and motorcycle brand promotions.
Specialised driver training was given to a number of government departments and agencies including the SA Police Service (SAPS) and the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC).
“Gerotek,” Armscor states “offers unique opportunities for scientific testing to complement successful product promotion and launch programmes, while contributing strategically to road safety and the economy. This is achieved by ensuring vehicles and other products are tested to conform to required standards and drivers are better equipped to deal with daily road challenges”.