Looking back on the year just about to end Armscor chief executive Kevin Wakeford points to three particular challenges the state-owned defence and security acquisition agency experienced which are “set to continue in the near future”.
He singled out the continually shrinking defence budget and the associated reduction in the defence capital budget as top of the list along with the need to resolve “Denel issues”. This is because issues at the State-owned defence and technology group impact on Armscor’s ability to delivery to its primary client – the SA National Defence Force.
Challenges aside, Wakeford also had a number of highlights to boost morale, not only at Armscor but in the wider defence sector nationally.
This includes Armscor achieving an unqualified audit opinion from the Auditor General and retaining “a healthy liquidity and solvency position”.
As far as boosting the local defence industry is concerned Wakeford notes the launch of the Defence Industry Fund (DIF) and gazetting of the Defence Sector Charter by Trade and industry Minister Rob Davies as positives.
Progress on Project Hotel – the new hydrographic vessel for the SA Navy – is on track with the first steel cut at main contractor Southern African Shipyards (SAS) in Durban last month. Ahead of the steel cutting a special tank test was done in Holland. It is expected that construction of the 147m long hydrographic platform will take about 12 months to complete.
Also on the credit side of the Armscor ledger for 2018 are, according to Wakeford that the agency delivered on its core mandate of providing acquisition serves as well as research and development work for the Department of Defence and continued management of the naval dockyard is back in Armscor hands.