SA shipbuilding sector waiting for SA Navy tender finalisation to showcase capabilities


The South African shipbuilding industry is waiting with bated breath while Armscor completes “internal processes” on tenders for seven new vessels for the South African Navy.

Tenders were issued in mid-2014 by government’s defence and security acquisition agency for a new hydrographic vessel and auxiliary equipment and for three each of new in- and offshore patrol vessels for the maritime arm of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF). Prospective tenderers were given 12 months to submit offers.

A series of meetings with prospective tenderers for both projects – Biro (in- and offshore patrol vessels) and Hotel (hydrographic vessel) –was held in Simon’s Town. Submission dates were subsequently extended due to what Armscor termed “the complexity” of the tenders.

Last August Armscor said it was “going through internal processes for selection and consideration of affordability” as regards both tenders. Addressing the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV) in October, Armscor chief executive Kevin Wakeford said decisions on the acquisition of the seven new naval platforms were “on hold”. This was because the Department of Defence (DoD) and the SA Navy were reviewing the budget “before a decision regarding continuation of the contracting process is made”. At that time defenceWeb requested comment from the DoD but none was ever received.

Armscor General Manager: Marketing And Business Development, Lulu Mzili, said this week that “internal processes have not yet been finalised” for both projects.
“Armscor is currently unable to comment while the procurement process is still in progress,” she said, adding once it was completed Armscor will “openly communicate” on the projects.

No official figures have been given for either but indications are around R6 billion will be spent on the in- and offshore patrol vessels.
defenceWeb has been told a meeting where prospective tenderers will be present is planned for Simon’s Town “hopefully in January”. One of the issues apparently up for discussion is the involvement of the Simon’s Town Naval Dockyard in one or both of the tenders. Management of the dockyard is passing from Armscor to DISM (Denel Integrated Systems and Maritime). Armscor did not comment on this when asked to.

Shipbuilding is earmarked as a major contributor to government’s blue economy initiative under the Operation Phakisa banner. The announcement of successful tenderers for both projects Biro and Hotel, expected to be joint ventures with local and foreign shipbuilders and associated service suppliers, will showcase this sector’s abilities.

Armscor has not, at this stage, offered any timeline for announcements of successful tenderers.