The new Armscor board held its first strategy session earlier this month since being appointed by the Minister of Defence and will now focus on becoming effective and responsive to the needs of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).
The strategy session comes on the heels of visits to Armscor facilities including Gerotek, the Institute for Maritime Technology, Protechnik Laboratories, the Dockyard at Simon’s Town and others for the new 10-strong board to thoroughly familiarise themselves with the entire Armscor operation.
The new Armscor board, with retired SA Navy Chief Johannes Mudimu as chairman, was announced by Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula in May. Mudimu’s deputy chair is Thuthukile Skweyiya, a former South African ambassador to France. Other board members are Bethuel Mobu, Virginia Lee Anne De la Hunt, Sesi Baloyi, Raymond Vokwana, Dr Moses Khanyile and Ndumiso Tyibilika. The two remaining board members are Sipho Mkwanazi, who has been acting chief executive since November 2009, and chief financial officer, Gerhard Grobler.
Mkwanazi has been acting chief executive since November 2009 but this looks set to change. According to the Armscor tender bulletin, November 3 was the closing date for an “executive search service for the recruitment of a suitable candidate for the position of chief executive officer”. At the time of publication, defenceWeb had not received a reply from Armscor as to how many possible candidates had been identified, when they will be interviewed and when an appointment can be expected.
Addressing the board, Mapisa-Nqakula told them Armscor’s function and mandate was to meet the defence materiel requirements of the SANDF.
“The operational readiness and effectiveness of the SANDF’s strategic capability planning is entirely dependent on an effective and responsive Armscor,” she told the weekend session at a Pretoria East guesthouse.
She reminded the board of Armscor’s role and duty to support the South African defence industry and encourage newcomers to this sector to be ahead of the curve when it came to issues such as transformation, skills transfer and technical knowledge to ensure future success. Her sentiments in this regard were echoed by Simphiwe Hamilton, executive director of AMD (the South African Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industries Association).