Defence sector charter a fit-for-purpose document

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Trevor Mketi, chairman of the Defence Sector Charter steering committee, maintains the drafting process was a collaborative one aimed at developing a charter tailor-made for the South African defence industry.

“From the outset our objective was not to use a generic charter, but to develop an original version applicable to the unique requirements of our industry and also take into account particular grouping such as military veterans.
“We have achieved that – a dynamic and unique fit-for-purpose document,” the Armscor newsletter quotes him as saying.

Isaac Motale, chair of the BEE, SMME and Skills Development Committee of the SA defence association AMD, said work on the charter began more than two years ago.
“The boards of Armscor and AMD agreed to collaborate in drafting a charter. The first letter to the Minister of Defence, requesting we start the process, was agreed at a joint board meeting and signed by both chairs.
“The defence sector has unique elements and there are specific transformation imperatives that could not be accommodated in the generic charter most commonly used. Drafting a fit-for-purpose document from scratch, in consultation with all stakeholders, was a long but necessary process.
“It wasn’t plain sailing but the resoluteness, tenacity and cohesive work ethic of the steering committee paid off. We now have a charter in place I have no doubt will transform the industry for the better.”

The Minister of Trade and Industry is responsible for gazetting the charter. A 60 day public comment period as required by the BBBEE Amendment Act will be implemented.

This is the last lap of the consultation process, Department of Trade and Industry Director: BEE, Stakeholder Engagements and Partnerships and a steering committee representative, Jacob Maphutha, said.
“The BBBEE Act delegates the power to approve sector charters to the department, obviating the need for promulgation in Parliament. Our role in the development of any charter is to guide and assist the process,” he said.

Any charter starts with identifying the business case. In the case of the defence sector, according to the Armscor newsletter, the main issues were under-utilisation of black companies; the empowerment of military veterans; the development of SMMEs, including women and youth-owned entities; and, importantly, growing the industry through localisation by using more local components and products.

With the charter approved, it now goes to the Defence Sector Charter Council, appointed by Defence Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. The council monitors execution and compliance. All key stakeholders, from government through to industry, established and emerging, organised labour and civil society are represented on the council.

At the time of publication there was no indication of when the charter would reach Minister Rob Davies’ office at the Department of Trade and Industry.