The South African Department of Defence (DoD) has launched its Defence Works Formation (DWF). The DWF falls under Chief of Logistics Major General JT Nkonyane and is intended to attend to the maintenance of DoD infrastructure and facilities.
In DoD, in a statement, reminded that her budget speech last week Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Lindiwe Sisulu alluded to her department’s discussion with the National Department of Public Works (NDPW) on the establishment of the Defence Estate Management mechanism, which will lead to the Defence Force progressively exiting from having the NDPW managing its property and facilities.
During his address at the launch, the acting Chief of the South African National defence Force, Lieutenant General Themba Matanzima stated that: “The opportunities of members of SANDF to maintain the DoD facilities are vast. They will be utilised in the following capacities: facility maintenance and repairs and construction that requires architects, civil engineers, estate managers, quantity surveyors, artisans, such as electricians, carpenters, bricklayers, mechanics, wall and floor tillers as well as environmental managers, occupational health and safety managers and all the military command and management skills that is inherent within the military fraternity”.
In her budget vote, last week, she recalled she had “promised to urgently attend to the matter of the declining state of defence infrastructure. The DoD began discussions with the NDPW Works on the establishment of the defence estate management mechanism, which will result in the DoD progressively exiting from the current arrangement on property and facilities management by the NDPW. The rolling out of the Defence Works Capability, which will be an in-house capability to maintain and repair defence facilities, will be implemented in this financial year. We have progressed very well on that front.”
Speaking before her vote, she said her ministry remained “committed to addressing the condition of service in the SANDF, it is a priority we are committed to and we are allocating resources. Now that we have laid the systems for self maintenance and management of our properties the Works Regiment will intensify the maintenance and up keep of all properties. We have completed a strategy to establish our own Real Estate Agency to manage our property portfolio of more than 430 000 hectares of land, approximately 35 000 buildings and more than 12 million square metres of surface area within buildings that is currently managed by [the NDPW].
“The Works Regiment of the SANDF has begun a committed and dedicated project to access the maintenance and building work required in the SANDF. Our biggest problem is also accommodation for soldiers and their families and additional office space for the SANDF.
“We have done detailed work on the land and properties that we own. This is a new and exciting venture for us. We will soon call on the private sector to work with us in developing the land on lease or loan to build bases, offices and most important accommodation for our soldiers” Sisulu said.
Pic: A bathroom at the Doornkop military base in Johannesburg pictured in September 2009.