Now under Armscor control and management thanks to ministerial intervention, the Simon’s Town naval dockyard is a national strategic capability responsible for the upkeep of the SA Navy fleet.
Given the lack of funds allocated by the maritime service of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) – R393 million when more than R3 billion is needed – the stated objectives of the dockyard in the latest Armscor annual report appear to be a stretch too far. In it Armscor maintains the primary responsibility of the facility is planned maintenance, facilities upkeep and provisioning of strategic support services including docking services, power supply, fuel support and other essential services for the SA Navy.
The state-owned defence and security acquisition agency notes, however, that “government priorities continue to shift focus from the defence budget to other needy areas and this, coupled with the economic downturn, poses challenges to the dockyard”.
It points out “operational requirements of the warships and submarines acquired through the strategic defence packages and legacy systems are resulting in huge demands. The current budget is insufficient to maintain and repair the operational output of the SA Navy, which in turn is posing a major capability risk on the dockyard as its primary repair authority”.
In terms of the dockyard transfer agreement and service delivery agreement the dockyard is managed as an SA Navy strategic facility providing support services to the fleet.
This mandate is executed via four services. They are third line maintenance, repair and refitting of the SA Navy fleet; operational defects; docking and essential defects; and upgrades to and modernisation of the fleet.
Armscor sees its primary mandate as ensuring the dockyard is transformed into “an efficient, effective and economically viable operations for fleet maintenance support” with a secondary mandate to utilise spare capacity and explore commercial opportunities.
In recent months Armscor has issued tenders seeking a service provider to collect and remove hazardous waste from the dockyard, rigging services, new rails for the synchrolift and for the refurbishment/upgrade of the motor pump test house and the chemical cleaning bay.