Search for new Armscor chief executive set to start in earnest next year


Sipho Mkwanazi’s more than four year tenure as acting chief executive of Armscor will end next year.

The state’s defence and security procurement agency issued a tender seeking a service provider to find suitable candidates for the position of chief executive.

Fidel Hadebe, Armscor Senior Manager, Corporate Communication, said: “Once the service provider has been appointed the next step will be the identification of suitable candidates. The entire process leading to the appointment is envisaged to be finalised in the new year”.

There was no indication of whether Mkwanazi would apply for the position. Before he took up the post vacated by Sipho Thomo, Mkwanazi was General Manager: Quality And Information Technology at Armscor and prior to that he had been General Manager: Acquisition.

Mkwanazi was made acting chief executive in November 2009 following the dismissal of his predecessor by the then Armscor board of directors under the chairmanship of Popo Molefe.

He had previously “survived” a misconduct enquiry, according to media reports early in 2010 but was finally sacked in the wake of his disclosure to Parliament on the cost escalation of the A400M aircraft South Africa had planned to acquire. Thomo said the cost of the eight heavy lift aircraft had risen to an “estimated” R47 billion. This in turn led to then Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu cancelling the contract with Airbus Military and leaving the SA Air Force with its ageing fleet of C-130BZs as the military’s only major airlifters.

Earlier this year the acting chief executive wrote in a foreword to the Armscor annual report that the state-owned defence and security acquisition agency would look back on the 2013/14 financial year “with pride notwithstanding the challenges and turbulences” it had to face.

These included legal challenges to the dismissal of former board chairman, retired Lieutenant General “Mojo” Motau and his deputy Refiloe Mokoena that unsuccessfully went as far as the Constitutional Court.

On the plus side Armscor was given a clean bill of health by Auditor General Terence Nombembe, who found no deficiencies in Armscor’s internal controls or non-compliance with laws and regulations.

The new Armscor board, under the chairmanship of retired SA Navy chief, Johannes Mudimu, earlier this month held its first strategy session to further develop the new chairman’s “in time, on time” theme in meeting the defence materiel requirements of particularly the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).