Armscor has been without a board chairman since October last year following the resignation of retired vice admiral Johannes Mudimu due to ill-health.
He was the first black chief of the SA Navy and earned many friends and created good relationships both in and outside South Africa during his tenure as the country’s top sailor as well as his over five year period as chairman of the Armscor board.
He was named Armscor chairman by Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula in April 2014 for a three year term which was extended by a further three years in May 2017.
His departure from the State-owned defence and security acquisition agency for health reasons comes as no surprise given a recent history of ill-health. That it has not yet been publicly acknowledged by Mapisa-Nqakula is concerning to Armscor personnel defenceWeb spoke to as well as the wider South African defence industry.
One, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Minister would have put an immediate stop to rumours and the sooner she announced a successor to Mudimu the sooner Armscor would have taken the good from his term as chairman and put shoulder to the wheel under the new chairman “whoever he or she is”.
It has not been officially confirmed by Mapisa-Nqakula’s office, but an impeccable source told defenceWeb Mudimu’ s resignation was with the Minister “days after AAD (African Aerospace and Defence) ended last year”.
AAD is the largest air, land and sea exhibition in Africa and is staged every second year. Last year’s exhibition finished on September 23.
During his first term as Armscor chairman, Mudimu oversaw implementation of the “on time and in time” strategy for equipment acquisitions for the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), Armscor’s largest customer.
Of the strategy he said at the time: “We (Armscor people) must not forget we are servants of the Department of Defence. When equipment is needed, it is generally needed speedily and Armscor must be geared to speed up acquisitions to enable the SANDF to do its work properly”.
Known in defence circles as a no nonsense person, he brought this attitude with him to the Erasmuskloof building Armscor shares with the Department of Defence headquarters and the Defence Ministry.
His first month as chairman saw him host a board meeting, address personnel and draw up a schedule for board members to visit all Armscor facilities and institutes. This, he said at the time, was to ensure the board knows what they dealing with as far as assets are concerned.
The Defence Ministry had not responded to questions about Mudimu’s resignation at the time of publication.