South Africa’s top soldier, General Solly Shoke, is on the road in Limpopo this week beating the government drum for local business, agriculture and traditional leaders.
A statement issued by the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Directorate: Corporate Communications has it that the SANDF Chief is hosting a “specially arranged stakeholder visit” to the province.
“The stakeholder engagement is aimed at affording the national defence force the opportunity to convey its role, functions and strategies with regard to how it envisions implementing the Defence Review.
“The engagement also seeks to interrogate how small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) can benefit from available business opportunities in the SANDF in an effort to promote much-needed economic growth in South Africa as contemplated by the National Development Plan,” according to the statement.
The business opportunities referred to are probably an extension of Project Koba Tlala, currently running as a pilot in the Potchefstroom area of the North West. One of the stated aims of this project, endorsed by Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, is to see local communities becoming part of the military supply chain initially in the form of supplying fresh produce to military bases. When it was launched in the North West provincial capital Mafikeng she said she did not want “Koba Tlala paperwork to lie in drawers and filing cabinets”.
Those tasked with running, managing and operating Koba Tlala are also investigating upskilling Reserve Force members to make them employable when not in uniform.
Shoke is due to meet with provincial business and agricultural representatives at a hotel in Polokwane and will have a second meeting on Thursday at the SA Army support base, also in Polokwane.