Armscor orders are a lifeline for local defence industry in harsh economic times – Motau


State-owned procurement agency Armscor is supporting local defence industry players facing possible closure by providing them with orders.

This, Armscor chairman Lieutenant General (retd) Maomela “Mojo” Motau said in the latest annual report, is one way of ensuring strategic technologies are still available in terms of both defence supplies and technology for the South African security sector, which includes the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) and the SA Police Service.

The annual report was tabled in Parliament earlier this week and notes Motau was “relieved” of his duties as chairman on August 8. He subsequently appealed the dismissal in the North Gauteng High Court and was reinstated.

Armscor said it was “concerned” about the impact of foreign ownership of South African defence sector companies. “This could have a potential negative impact on our ability to obtain defence supplies and maintain technology to meet the requirements of the armed forces,” he noted in his chairman’s report.

Also in terms of industry support, Motau said a start was made on an audit of all South African companies with a view to determining their contribution to the value chain supporting the armed forces.
“We intend to identify all those companies that are critical in this regard and find ways of ensuring they remain able to provide much-needed services to our armed forces.”

Highlights of the year under review were, according to the report, a clean audit with no qualification from the Auditor-General; a level three BBBEE (broad-based black economic empowerment) rating up from last year’s level seven; the ISO 9001 accreditation for the Armscor dockyard; a surplus of R84,6 million compared to R70,2 million in the previous financial year and a quoted average improvement of 51% for mathematics and physical science as part of its corporate social investment programme at eight schools in the greater Pretoria area.

Just on R6 billion was spent on acquisition programmes for the Department of Defence during the year under review, with testing and evaluation facilities Gerotek and Alkantpan supplying own funding to the tune of just on 70% by way of testing and evaluation of various vehicles and intensive munitions tests.

Among the acquisition highlights the reports notes “a cabin-mounted gun, improvements to the communication systems and cabin rails and tie-downs were implemented” on the Agusta A109 light utility helicopters purchased for the SA Air Force (SAAF) as part of the Strategic Defence Procurement Package (SDPP).

The Gripen jet fighter, another SDPP project, has been integrated with the A-Darter missile and reconnaissance pod. It was delivered to the SAAF last November, according to the report.
“After some delays in the Oryx helicopter communication and navigation system upgrade, development of the avionics upgrade was completed. The Military Airworthiness Board issued an interim type certificate for the upgraded helicopter and fitment of the modifications on the first four helicopters is progressing well.”

In the previous annual report Motau noted the Armscor board was not “sufficiently remunerated for the sensitive job of resourcing our security forces”.

This has changed somewhat with the chairman receiving R444 502 for his work which included attending six board meetings during the year under review. In the previous reporting period he chaired all eight the Armscor board meetings for an emolument of R407 460.