SANDF looking to scrap thousands of old vehicles

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The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is looking at stripping almost 8 000 unserviceable vehicles of useable spares and selling the rest as scrap.

SANDF logistics boss Lieutenant General Morris Moadira apparently approved the plan in June, according to Netwerk24. The initiative aims to bring in revenue from the unserviceable vehicles and address the South African Army’s spares shortage.

Netwerk24 notes that the scrap value of a wreck ranges from R1 200 to R2 500, but it may cost more than that to transfer the vehicles from Bloemfontein or Wallmansthal to be scrapped.

The plan calls for some form of financing which may be necessary to buy equipment to compact vehicle wrecks.

An Armscor spokesperson told Netwerk24 that the acquisition agency, which also handles surplus equipment sales and disposals, was aware of the plan but did not know any more details.

Cuban mechanics are currently in South Africa assisting with the repair, reactivation and storage of South African military vehicles under Operation Thusano. Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula recently said that in the 2016/17 period, 1 871 vehicles were repaired in collaboration with the Cuban armed forces, at a cost-saving of R108 334 million.

For the 2015/16 financial year, 235 operational vehicles were repaired and another 286 were undergoing repairs, according to the most recent Department of Defence annual report. Another 850 vehicles were prepared for preservation and 524 deactivated for use as spares in 2015/16.

Cuba has deployed an additional 41 technical specialists across the country to assist us in resuscitating the Technical Service Corps capability. In addition, the Cuban specialists were able to repair the following equipment: the bio-medical workshop; vehicle diagnostic machinery; medical technology equipment; and a magnetic particle test bench, among others, Mapida-Nqakula said in May.

A number of South African technicians are currently learning about military vehicle maintenance and repair in Cuba. The group left South Africa in 2014 under an agreement between the SANDF and its Cuban counterpart, according to SA Soldier. The military publication reports the engineering programmes the South Africans are enrolled for take between three and five years to complete and “provide expertise in the maintenance of battle tanks and transporters”.



The South African Army possess more than 10 000 A and B vehicles and is aiming to repair 4 200 of its vehicles under Operation Thusano. The Wallmansthal vehicle storage facility alone has 900 serviceable vehicles in covered storage, and thousands of other unserviceable vehicles in open storage.
2 400 vehicles parked in the Armscor park at Wallmansthal were undergoing disposal in 2015 but this process was suspended as the Army realised it could bring some of the vehicles back to serviceability and use them as a source of spare parts.