Sisulu wants more military veterans, BEE transformation in SA defence industry

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Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Lindiwe Sisulu, has said she wants to see more military veterans employed in the local defence industry, in addition to increased black economic empowerment.

Sisulu made the comments yesterday while addressing delegates at the fifth annual Defence Industry Day in Pretoria. She was accompanied by the Secretary for Defence Dr Sam Gulube, Director–General of Military Veterans Tsepe Motumi and SANDF chief General Solly Shoke.
“We as the Ministry of Defence and Military Veterans have been given the additional and humbling responsibility of looking after military veterans – those people who have laid the cornerstone of a democratic dispensation,” Sisulu said. “I would like to share that responsibility with you. I would like you, when you define social responsibility, to think of it in terms of these people. To the extent that it is possible, I would like the definition of BEE to reflect these people. I would like your employment figures to reflect these people.”

She said the defence industry should look at ways and means to incorporate more military veterans into the industry’s economic stream by offering employment and/or training and by doing business with military veterans-linked organisations. “Before we give out any tender we should ensure that military veterans are taken care of.”
“I don’t think that’s too much to ask,” Sisulu said.

The minister also pointed out that the defence industry is one of the least transformed industries in South Africa, with total annual broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) spend still less than 10% of total annual expenditure. “AMD [South African Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industries Association] need to consider introducing incentives for eager compliers and disincentives for non-compliers within its membership structure in order to accelerate transformation within the sector,” Sisulu said.
“I have reviewed the resolutions of the last DOD Industry days and can confirm that we are working towards the creation of a BEE Directorate and the appointment of the incumbent who will ensure that when we meet like this in 2013 we have a Defence Industry BBBEE Charter for submission to the DTI for gazetting. This will address the prevailing uncertainty on the DOD’s commitment to this worthy cause and imperative of the SA government.”

The process design for the creation of a BEE Directorate should be completed by June.

The South African defence industry contributes around 17 000 specialised jobs.