It’s been two years since the National Defence Industry Council (NDIC) was launched and its strategy for the South African defence industry going forward is “in the final stages of preparation for publication”.
The main thrust of the strategy was described by the Director: Industry Support at the Department of Defence (DoD) Trevor Mketi, who is also acting NDIC secretariat head, as to “secure, stabilise and sustain”. Hard on the heels of the strategy’s publication will come an implementation plan.
This, according to him, entails retaining local defence industry capabilities identified either as essential or having “good export potential”.
The NDIC is chaired by Dr Sam Gulube, Secretary for Defence, a position he was named to by Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
He heads up a 16-strong council that includes SA National Defence Force Chief, General Solly Shoke; Denel Group Chief Executive Danie du Toit; Armscor chief executive Advocate Solomzi Mbada (currently acting); SA Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industries Association chief executive Simphiwe Hamilton; CSIR Chief Executive Dr Jonas Mphepya (currently acting according to the CSIR website) and National Police Commissioner General Kehla Sithole. Also on the council are the directors-general in the Presidency and departments of Military Veterans, the State Security Agency, International Relations and Co-operation, Science and Technology, Public Enterprises, Trade and Industry, Small Business Development, Home Affairs and DoD Chief of Defence Materiel.
Hand in glove with the work of the NDIC is the Defence Sector Charter (DSC). The document was gazetted last November by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies some six months after it was signed off by Mapisa-Nqakula. The document is the local defence industry’s black economic empowerment guideline and according to Davies it had “general support”.
There is expected to be an official launch of the Charter in the second quarter of this year Mketi, who chaired the DSC steering committee, said.