New SANDF works units coming

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The South African National Defence Force has embarked on an initiative to create nine new works units and a construction unit that will maintain and repair its 35 000 facilities, including housing accommodation, offices and training sites.

Brig Gen David Masters, the General Officer Commanding the Defence Works Formation (DWF) said on Friday the military currently had a R13 billion facility maintenance and repair backlog. Speaking at a Woman’s Day function at the Works Training School, also known as the Centre for Advanced Training, Masters noted “the dilapidated state of our facilities is directly affecting our preparation progammes in training our soldiers to carry out our main mandate, which is to protect the integrity and sovereignty of our country…”

Masters noted the school has trained some 1200 personnel since 2008, “with 240 already qualified artisans with a red seal certificate”. However, the training had to be outsourced due to the fact that the school did not have the necessary accreditation and capacity to train large numbers as required.
“This will be address as soon as the school is upgraded and enhanced to support the mandate of the works formation, which is to support the facility management strategy of the DoD. The present training at the school will continue to support the exiting of DoD members, training still in support of the dod and military veterans and all other beneficiary service training [sic],” Masters said.
“There will be various collateral training opportunities for veterans, defence force members exiting the system and other beneficiary services. … We have many women that has [sic] now qualified as electricians, carpenters, bricklayers, painters and various other disciplines, including construction site supervisors and many more are in training. Presently we have a civil engineering project management course planned to start next month at the training school.”

The Defence Works Formation (DWF) was established in April this year from the ormer Service Corps and the SA Army Works Regiment and answers to the Defence Logistics Agency. During his address at the launch, the then-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 DoD, in a statement at the time, reminded that her budget speech that month 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. “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,” Sisulu said in her budget vote.