SANDF in Northern Cape looking local for business partners

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Department of Defence (DoD) and SA National Defence Force (SANDF) efforts to boost the economy move into a higher gear in Northern Cape this week.

The SANDF communications component in the form of its Directorate Corporate Communications (DCC) maintains the shift of focus to South Africa’s most arid province is because – with the exception of Gauteng – units and bases “struggle to source and retain local suppliers” keen on military business.

“This,” DCC has it, “is understood to have been caused by businesses’ lack of awareness for services required, as well as procedure followed to provide services to the SANDF”.

That will change on Thursday (29 June) at 93 Ammunition Depot in Jan Kempdorp when SANDF Logistics Chief Lieutenant General Xolani Ndlovu hosts the first “decentralised supplier information session” for, in DCC’s word, “entrepreneurs”.

The town is just on 100 km from provincial capital Kimberley, also the province’s major military hub, home to among others the SA Army Air Defence Formation in the form of Air Defence Artillery School and 10 Anti-Aircraft Regiment. One of two premier SA Army Infantry Formation training units – 3 SA Infantry (SAI) Battalion – is Kimberley headquartered as well. In addition to biannual military skills development (MSD) intakes, 3 SAI also accommodates, feeds and trains new constables for Minister Bheki Cele’s SA Police Service (SAPS). Just on 400 km away in De Aar are 97 Ammunition Depot and the School of Ammunition, both SA Army units.

The information session is due to start at 08h00 and “aims to afford entrepreneurs in the area an opportunity to interact with the DoD on services required by units and embrace doing business with the military”.

The session aims to “create employment opportunities and ensure military units prioritise local businesses to render services to meet its needs. Units [presumably those in the wider Kimberley area] are looking to attract suppliers of food, vehicle repairs, plumbing, electrical fitting, general services and essential hygiene commodities,” according to the statement.