R143m for Works Regiment

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The Department of Defence Works Regiment, established by the South African Army but now transferred to SA National Defence Force’s Logistics Division, has in the current and last year cost just less than R143 million.

The defence works capability is a result of the gross inefficiency of the national Department of Public Works that is meant,among other tasks, to maintain government buildings. A mixture of funding squabbles and incompetence has resulted in many SANDF facilities falling into disrepair.

The regiment has also created an opportunity to reskill junior military personnel that are too old for their rank profile or mustering in terms of Human Resources Strategy 2010. The Ministry of Defence in answer to a question by Democratic Alliance deputy defence shadow minister Donald Smiles says 450 personnel are currently being re-skilled. It adds that “of these 450 members, 19 have been qualified as site supervisors and 90 artisans will qualify within this calendar year.
“If budgetary constraints can be overcome it is envisaged that at leased a 150 per year can be trained. This will allow the new [works capability] to be fully staffed over a period of ten years, any increase in the number will reduce the time.”

The ministry adds the budget of the Works Regiment for the last financial year as well as the current year amounts to 142 900 350, broken down as:

S/No

Item

FY 09/10

FY 10/11

       

1

Item 10 (Salaries)

R31, 327, 252

R44, 600, 000

2

Operational

R17, 668, 098

R49, 305, 000

3

Total

R48, 995, 350

R93, 905, 000

The ministry adds this is not enough. “Kindly note that the above is the allocated budget, but the actual requirement to comply with the re-skilling program for the total number of students (who will now become part of the [Works Regiment] responsibility) is significantly higher. For every 100 students the Item 10 requirement is R15 million and operating/re-skilling cost is R10 million.

The defence works capability is now also operational. Last year it “was still in the project phase. The ministry adds the “establishment of the Defence Works Capability and its transfer from the Army to Chief Logistics will take place during this financial year. During the previous financial year the Item 10 (salaries) and other [personnel] related cost of students in the re-skilling programme were carried by Services. During this new financial year these cost will be carried by the Defence Works Capability.” It adds that other than students, 13 Regular Force members, three Public Service Act personnel and 44 Reserve Force members are “actively involved in this project.”

Work completed by the Works Regiment to date include building a hospice at Lenz, upgrading 150 rooms at A-Mess (no location given) and refurbishing the Project Lebaka offices and the “OHS Building” (again no venue given) as well as maintenance work at the Military School of Justice (presumably in Pretoria).

Work is still in progress at the Personnel Services School barracks in Pretoria as well as the Luken and Mentz Buildings at the SA Army College at Thaba Tshwane and at 93 Ammo Depot at Jankempdorp.



Smiles also asked what quality assurance measures were in place to ensure optimal workmanship. The ministry replied that the organisational structure of the new “Defence Works Capability will have quality assurance personnel available in each region that will report directly to the Officer Commanding of the regional works unit. These quality assurance personnel will be fully trained as Condition Assessors with OHS (Occupational Health and Safety) certification. All maintenance and repair programmes that the Defence Works Capability will embark on will be done in accordance with project management principles and processes” with the national DPW responsible for final quality certification.