Tielman de Waal, a man widely credited as being one of the founders of South Africa’s defence industry, has died.
He was appointed managing director of Armscor on April 1, 1992, and retired from the second most senior position in the state defence procurement agency in 1995 after a defence industry career spanning over 26 years.
De Waal’s first contact with the defence industry came when he started working for then Armscor affiliate, Somchem in Somerset West, soon after he obtained his Masters in Chemistry at the University of Stellenbosch in 1968. He was appointed manager Somchem propulsive in 1976 and was also manager of the company’s Krantzkop facility before being named general manager of another Armscor affiliate, Kentron (today Denel Dynamics), in August 1983.
In July 1986 de Waal was named Senior General Manager: Internal Production of Armscor and in 1991 he became Executive Director Procurement following a number of changes in Armscor’s senior management. He held this position until his appointment as managing director.
“Tielman’s professionalism, expertise and management skills were both admired and respected by the wider defence community in South Africa,” former Armscor colleague Bertus Celliers said.
“It came as no surprise when the then State President, PW Botha, honoured him with the Order: Commander of the Star of South Africa (Civilian) for his services to the South African defence industry, the SA Defence Force and its successor the SA National Defence Force.”
De Waal was a regular contributor to a number of respected defence journals and publications and was also a member of both the SA Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns and the Afrikaanse Taal en Kultuurvereniging.
He is survived by his wife, Miemsie, two children and four grandchildren.
De Waal will be buried in Somerset West tomorrow following a service at the NG Church’s Hottentots Holland Congregation in Gordon Road.