To express and solidify its relationship with probably the most visible of South Africa’s security services – the police – Denel this week confirmed it provides the men and women in blue with “a full range of products that meet and exceed requirements for quality, reliability and performance”.
A statement was issued by the State-owned defence and technology conglomerate with Pretoria Metal Pressings (PMP) as the Denel division at the core of ammunition supply to the SA Police Service (SAPS) to coincide with National Police Day (28 January).
According to the statement it is not only ammunition supplies to the police where Denel “makes a positive contribution to crime prevention and law enforcement”. The groups’ high-tech equipment, vehicles and advanced technology also assist police in their various tasks.
Denel chief executive Danie du Toit is quoted as saying: “Denel is the primary producer of small calibre ammunition for handguns used by the SAPS. This ensures law enforcement officers have ready access to quality, locally manufactured products enabling them to fill their primary role in protecting South African communities”.
“PMP is the country’s largest manufacturer of small and medium calibre ammunition. We are able to provide the SAPS with a full range of products.
“Accomplishments by the police in combatting crime and extending their operations in communities can, in no small measure, be attributed to the confidence police have in the quality of their equipment.”
But it’s not all as upbeat as what Du Toit is reported as saying. Just three months ago following late and non-delivery of ammunition to the SAPS, PMP said “a late delivery involved a contract supposed to be concluded at the end of March 2019 for 9 mm and 5.56 mm ammunition. The 9 mm delivery was only completed at the end of May and the 5.56 mm contract in mid-June due to liquidity challenges”. Deliveries of 9mm ammunition were said to be underway by November last year.
One of the reasons given by PMP for the delay in ammunition deliveries was liquidity challenges it, along with other Denel group companies and divisions, were experiencing.
The lack of ammunition saw over 4 500 police officers in Western Cape not able to undergo firearm competency testing in the 2018/19 financial year, a reply to a Parliamentary question revealed.
Police officers are required to be competent in the handling of 9 mm pistols, 5.56 mm R5 assault rifles and 12 gauge shotguns, with officers typically given ten to 50 rounds of ammunition for their competency tests for the three weapons. Denel PMP supplies 9 mm and 5.56 mm ammunition to the Police.
Freedom Front Plus (FF+) leader, Dr Pieter Groenewald, a long-time campaigner for police to take better care of equipment, previously criticised SAPS management for losses of both ammunition and weapons. This week he told defenceWeb he would continue questioning top SAPS management and Police Minister Bheki Cele on the issue of “lost and missing ammunition and firearms”.