The relationship between the South African defence industry, the Department of Defence (DoD) and the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) will be strengthened by the establishment of the National Defence Industry Council (NDIC).
The new council is being seen as being a crucial roleplayer in determining the trajectory of the local defence industry over the next few years.
“This will be by it deliberately addressing key policy issues at the highest level and ensuring co-ordination of the activities of government departments whose mandates impact on the defence industry,” Simphiwe Hamilton, executive director of AMD (SA Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industries Association), said adding it was “a much awaited development”.
Defence and Military Veterans Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, last week told Parliament plans for the establishment of the NDIC were at “an advanced stage”.
“The launching of the council will usher in a new dispensation for management of our relations with the defence industry as well as allow for direct support,” she said.
The NDIC concept was put to the defence industry by former defence minister Lindiwe Sisulu during a Defence Industry Day at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in March 2012. She said at the time the NDIC would meet quarterly under the stewardship of the Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans and would be “the highest consultative body between the defence industry and the DoD on matters of policy formulation and compliance, export support, armament acquisition and joint planning”.
While Mapisa-Nqakula did not elaborate on the NDIC structure, it is believed that Dr Sam Gulube, Secretary for Defence, as well as deputy director-generals in the DoD responsible for acquisition and industry governance, the chief executive of Armscor (currently acting chief executive Sipho Mkwanazi who has been acting since November 2009) and industry representatives nominated by AMD will make up the bulk of its nominated members. When required, officials from other government departments will be invited to NDIC meetings.
Mapisa-Nqakula sees this year’s Africa Aerospace and Defence exhibition, scheduled to take place at AFB Waterkloof from September 17 to 21 as being as opportunity for the South African defence industry to not only market itself but also to expand.