Address by the minister of defence and military veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, on the occasion of breakfast media briefing on the eve of the Africa Aerospace and Defence exhibition (AAD), Waterkloof Airforce Base, Pretoria, 13 September 2016.
Members of the media
Ladies and Gentlemen
I’d like to welcome you to this media briefing ahead of the opening of the African Aerospace and Defence industries’ exhibition tomorrow the 14th September 2016. It is the ninth (9) edition of the AAD this year -the largest land, sea and air exhibition on the African continent.
True to the theme for this edition of “Unleashing Africa’s Defence and Aerospace potential” – we have, for the first time, been honoured by the establishment of an African (Union) Pavilion. In this no less than 6 of our continental partner nations are exclusively exhibiting. It goes without saying that we are very proud of this show which continues to cement its place among global aerospace and defence exhibitions. This year we have more than 440 exhibitors from 34 countries as well as no less than 95 display aircraft from several countries. Congratulations are due to the AAD team as led by Armscor for this success.
In March this year we successfully launched our National Defence Industry Council (NDIC) as prescribed by the Defence Review of 2015 and in support of our National New Growth Path (NGP) which seeks to support both the National Industrial policy Framework (NIPF) and the Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP). Both NIPF and IPAP are intended to support employment creation in various key sectors including the manufacturing sectors that aerospace and defence are an integral and key part of. To this end, the role of Armscor – in collaboration with organised industry, both public and private – cannot be overemphasised.
In the same vein as a department we have embarked on a Transformative Enterprise Development Programme through the Council for Science and Industrial Research (CSIR).
Through this initiative we are currently incubating five (5) Black companies and intend to support them from Research and Development to Industrialisation in various technology areas ranging from photonics, ICT and radar technologies. Once again, it is our expectation and a government directive that all government departments, institutions, agencies and SOC’s like DENEL should contribute to deepening industrialisation and partnerships aimed at growing SMME’s. We further wish to go beyond this and create black industrialists within the sector, and call upon existing companies to widen black ownership and participation in the defence industry sector.
We are encouraged by the achievements of AAD to showcase the indigenous technologies of the region. As such the AAD is a platform that enables exhibitors to access the international purchasing and supply chain in aerospace and defence, as well as providing a platform to market both their product and brands.
It is pleasing to note upsurge of international interest in our defence industries and for them to participate and exhibit in the AAD and this augurs well for our economy. It is also particularly gratifying to note that part of the exhibition also offers a comprehensive youth programme, which exposes our young people to engineering and technology, entrepreneurial skills, youth development and career opportunities.
For us in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), a skilled youth is key to the future of the SANDF particularly as we work towards satisfying the requirements of the Human Resources Strategy and the Defence Review 2015.
As we continue to celebrate the appointment of Lieutenant General Derrick Mgwebi as the Force Commander for MONUSCO as well as the successes that have been attained by our Rooivalk Attack Helicopter in that mission, we cannot rest on our laurels. We are already engaged in the processes of upgrading the Rooivalk platform.
For this purposes, and in line with the global trend of collaborative defence programs, we are willing to engage with like-minded partner nations in the areas of risk sharing co-development and co-production as we upgrade this platform.
I thank you!