2018 marks the golden anniversary of the South African defence and security acquisition agency – Armscor.
It was created as the Armaments Corporation of South Africa SOC in terms of the Armaments Production and Development Act (Act 57 of 1968) to satisfy the requirements of the then SA Defence Force (SADF) as regards defence equipment and materiel.
In 1992 Armscor production units were separated to form the state-owned company Denel and Act 57 of 1968 was revised to reflect the new functions of Armscor. This is listed on the Armscor website as “acquisitions and government-to-government marketing”.
Armscor chief executive Kevin Wakeford sees the occasion of Armscor’s 50th anniversary as an opportunity to go beyond business savvy and good governance.
“We are concerned for those who were previously excluded and are making the necessary plans to accommodate previously disadvantaged individuals. We firmly acknowledge ours is a past that has gone through challenges but are proud we have risen above the negative past and become an organisation that embraces transformation, providing opportunities for previously marginalised communities,” he writes in the latest Armscor external newsletter.
Alongside the SA Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industries Association (AMD), Armscor will facilitate the Defence Industry Fund (DIF). Armscor, Wakefield writes, will provide “the necessary financial support needed to boost exports and provide ease of entry to newcomers into the defence industry.”
“The DIF will provide tailored financial products to small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs).”
Armscor is now in the implementation phase of its turnaround strategy announced last year and “appropriate measures are being implemented given the reduced budget allocation to our sector”.
“Central to our robust turnaround plans is to continue to engage with business for partnership opportunities, locally and internationally, in the midst of projects underway with facilitation of acquisitions for the Department of Correctional Services and complex acquisition for SADC (Southern African Development Community) countries.
“We are poised to leverage our property assets for business and commercial use. Through the Business Enablement Department, we intend to develop further business activities at our facilities and engage with partners in commercial development of vacant properties. This is seen as a measure to generate revenue through sweating of assets,” Wakefield writes, adding the agency’s central function will not be forgotten.
“We will promote peace and security across the continent.
“Our strategy to unlock Africa’s defence potential is progressively making inroads into the global market. These include Africa, India, the Middle East and South Pacific countries. We want to make a meaningful impact in ensuring African countries can be stabilised and working towards thriving economies.
“At the core, we want to generate revenue, provide cost efficiency and effective delivery of key products and services to all our clients.”