Parliamentary Question: DoDMV: Ammunition depot at Jan Kempdorp


Parliamentary question: ammunition depot at Jan Kempdorp

Mr K A Sinclair (COPE-NC) to ask the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans:
(1) Whether her department has received any communication regarding the instability of the army ammunition depot at Jan Kempdorp; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so,
(2) whether her department has (a) acknowledged receipt of such communication and (b) undertaken an in depth inspection of the ammunition depot; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details in each case;
(3) whether her department has taken any steps to ensure the safety of residents in the event of an accident; if not, why not; if so, (a) how many complainants have been acknowledged, (b) what was the opinion of the experts regarding the safety and stability of the depot and (c) to what extent will the residents of the area avoid becoming victims?

(1) Yes. The Office of Secretary for Defence received communication regarding the instability of the army ammunition depot at Jan Kempdorp on the 15 February 2010. There is currently no threat in respect of high volume of unserviceable ammunition in storage at 93 Ammunition Depot (Jan Kempdorp). The unstable ammunition that was stored at the depot was demolished by means of open detonation at Vastrap Range near Upington during November and December 2005.
(2) (a) Yes. The Acting Secretary for Defence acknowledged receipt of such communication.
(b) Periodical inspections are done by qualified inspectors on all ammunition in storage at 93 Ammunition Depot. Unstable ammunition is identified for demolition during these inspections and it is disposed of.

All ammunition in field storage was removed and placed in ammunition storage facilities, which was inspected and licensed by the ammunition inspectors. All ammunition is kept in safe licensed storage.

During 2010 a quantity of seven-hundred-and-eighty-eight (788) lightening conductors were inspected at the depot and one-hundred-and-thirty-two (132) were found to be non-conforming. These conductors were repaired and conformity certificates were issued.

The last large scale of disposal at 93 Ammunition Depot was the AS 30 missile war heads and the white phosphorus that was demolished on 26 January 2012 at Duncan Demolishing Range.
(3) To ensure the safety of the civilian population who moved to close proximity of the depot (within 2km effective range of the ammunition), nine (9) magazines were curtailed. Two (2) magazines were down scaled from 200 000kg to 15 000kg of explosives. One (1) magazine was reduced from 20 000kg to 15 000kg of explosives and the remaining six (6) magazines were reduced with 1 000kg of explosives each.
(a) Onecomplaint was received.
(b) The DOD’s ammunition inspectors are satisfied with the safety standards of 93 Ammunition Depot.
(c) Residents were advised to maintain a distance of at least 2km away from the ammunition depot in order to ensure their safety at all times.