SANDF sharp end maintenance done “on demand”


Defence and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise says maintenance of military equipment used by the combat services of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF)  will be carried out on an “on demand” basis through a series of maintenance contracts signed with key suppliers, allowing for repairs and upkeep when needed.

She was replying to a parliamentary question from Economic Freedom Fighters’ MP Washington Mafanya, who wanted to know about  the maintenance backlog of “key SANDF equipment”.

Modise went into some detail about maintenance for the air force, army and navy pointing out the budget for each is “determined and prioritised in accordance with latest force design and planned utilisation of equipment”.

The rot at State-owned defence and technology conglomerate Denel, now in a restructuring and retrenchment process, has affected the SA Army.

“There is currently a maintenance backlog with maintenance for some equipment of which Denel is the OEM (original equipment manufacturer),” Modise told her questioner,  giving the G5 and G6 field artillery guns as examples of where Denel cannot meet obligations.

Many of the weapons are not serviceable, although some are being serviced and repaired  at Denel’s Lyttelton campus.

The same is true for “the Samil fleet of logistic vehicles” where Denel was contracted to supply spares. Denel’s “inability” to fulfil obligations was “mitigated”, according to Modise, by appointment of an alternative supplier.

Armscor is now paying “selected suppliers directly for provisioning spares to Denel, ” she added.

In the SA Air Force (SAAF) there are maintenance backlogs on Gripen fighters and Hawk jet trainers as well as the Oryx (medium transport helicopter) and Falcon (VIP transport) fleets.

Maintenance contracts, her reply reads, “have now been established for all aircraft in the SAAF fleet”. There was a delay in the Falcon contract due to non-performance which is “being addressed and mitigated”.

In Simon’s Town, SA Navy (SAN) fleet headquarters, a similar situation exists with maintenance of the blue water capability done “in accordance with available budget”. Contracts to “enhance maintenance” are extended “as and when funding becomes available”.

As with the army’s Samils, the maintenance contractor appointed for SAS Drakensberg (A301) has not been up to scratch due to non-availability of spares due to contractor “non-performance”. As with the Samil contract delays were addressed and “mitigating steps implemented, ” the Minister added.