SA Army wants new cutlery and dixies

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Proof yet again that armies march on their stomachs* comes in the form of an Armscor tender to “procure” dixies and cutlery as well as water bottles for the SA Army.

The landward force, under the command of Lieutenant General Lawrence Mbatha needs, according to Armscor tender ELWS/2024/32, 1 194 dixie sets, 2 000 cutlery kits (knife, fork and spoon) and a similar number of plastic two litre water bottles.

Apart from noting it as a “running” tender at 22 May, the Armscor running tender portal does not give a closing date. Prospective bidders have to plough through just on 140 pages of documentation covering aspects such as BBBEE (broad-based black economic empowerment), financial status as well as diagrammatic representations of the items sought – along with measurements – and materials. In all three instances specification numbers are provided for easy reference. The dixie set spec is 05181-100-068, with 05181-100-067 for the cutlery kits and 05181-100-069 for the water bottles.

Retail prices for the two-container aluminium dixie sets in South Africa run at around the R200 mark with prices for three piece cutlery sets made of the same material costing around R190. Given the numbers involved in the Armscor tender unit prices should be considerably lower.

*The adage is often attributed to Napoleon and means a force can only go as far as its logistics allow. In modern terms this is generally known as “operational reach” covering supplying soldiers with what’s needed to perform the task at hand. This includes food, weapons, ammunition and medical support.