Jury still out on Armscor Building name change


It’s been over six months since Armscor announced an internal competition to rename its headquarters building in Erasmusrand and there is still no decision.

In June last year the state-owned defence and security acquisition agency said “extensive consultation” had to happen before any decision could be taken on renaming the mirror-glass fronted building adjacent to the N1 highway.

The latest development, according to acting Group Executive: Corporate Support Advocate Ndodomzi Mvambo, is renaming is “still in the process of being finalised”.

This after defenceWeb was told recommendations for the new name would be submitted to a committee for a “a final determination”.

Mvambo did not offer examples of names submitted when requested by defenceWeb.

An Armscor internal bulletin seeking a new name for the building in Pretoria’s south-eastern suburb Erasmuskloof suggested the name of a person, place, animal or symbol “reflective of South Africa” as potentials.

It also noted the name submitted, if that of a person, “should be someone who fought various wars that contributed to the dawn of democracy before 1994, someone who contributed significantly to the military struggle before 1994 and represents the values of Armscor or someone prominent who has a prominent influence in society either through music, arts and literature. A person who is synonymous for creating unity and demonstrating values associated with Ubuntu”.

defenceWeb readers canvassed after the proposed name change became public were, by and large, derogatory of any name change for the building which also houses the Defence Ministry, Department of Defence headquarters and SA National Defence Force (SANDF) headquarters.

One said: “Looking at the so-called guidelines, only MK so-called heroes will be looked at, never any person who actually got the Armscor structure off the ground and gasp, gasp a white person! Otherwise how about a rap or kwaito singer which will represent what our arms industry is about?”

Another reader felt Armscor would be better off doing the job its was set up for and pointed out the paucity of its tender bulletin.

A third was of the opinion “a name change is wasteful expenditure which doesn’t stop at any decision to ‘baptise’ a building. It has unnecessary implications and costs but I wonder if anyone at the ‘glass castle’ cares”.