Stakeholders in the South African defence industry have met in Pretoria to deliberate on an envisaged defence industry broad based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) transformation charter, the second time in nine years this has been done.
The Defence Transformation Charter (DTC) is one of the work streams of the National Defence Industry Council (NDIC) that came into being in March this year, a year after it was originally supposed to be launched.
The meeting, at Armscor, was attended by industry experts as well as local suppliers of defence equipment and services and marked the end of a series of engagements between the Department of Defence and Military Veterans (DoDMV), Armscor and stakeholders as regards finalisation of the DTC.
Simphiwe Hamilton, AMD (SA Aerospace, Maritime and Defence industries Association) executive director told the meeting the South African defence industry attempted to draft a transformation charter in 2007 but it did not materialise due to insufficient support.
“We have taken lessons from the previous process and have ensured all stakeholders are consulted throughout the process of the charter’s development. As such, the current process has been endorsed by the boards of directors of both Armscor and AMD and this meeting is one of the steps taken towards attaining full support and buy-in from all key stakeholders,” he said.
Advocate Vuyisa Ramphele, who heads Armscor’s corporate compliance department and is co-chair of the DTC steering committee, said the process of developing a charter and sector code for the defence industry was long overdue.
“As an enabler, it is expected that the charter will open up opportunities for SMMEs to play a significant role in the procurement and supply of defence material,” she said.
Welcoming participants and speaking on behalf of the Defence Ministry and the DoD, Trevor Mketi, DTC steering committee chair and director of industry governance at the DoD, emphasised the Defence Charter is another step in the national effort to grow the economy and expand access to SMMEs.
“This process has to be understood in the context of all the economic growth and development strategies of the country, it is not a standalone but an important contributor to economic empowerment of previously marginalised sections of our society,” he said.
Milestones that have to be achieved include promoting partnership relations between government and the private sector to ensure sustainability of the local defence industry as well as achieving national security through the establishment, maintenance and sustainability of both sovereign and strategic capabilities of the local defence industry.
Indications are a draft transformation paper will be tabled at the Armscor Aerospace, Maritime and Defence conference to be held the day before the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition starting on September 14. This will be followed by gazetting and a period for public comment.