Still no indication of when Denel will take over management of naval dockyard


Transfer of management at the Simon’s Town naval dockyard to Denel ISM (Integrated Systems and Maritime) has not happened yet because “certain Treasury approvals still have to be obtained by Denel”.

In May last year Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula announced that control of the Simon’s Town dockyard would be returned to the SA Navy. Four months later in September, Denel ISM was announced as being selected to take over the management of the facility, while Armscor would be the procurement agency interfacing between the maritime arm of the SA National Defence force and Denel ISM. The actual transfer of management and control of the dockyard to Denel ISM, it was then said, would take place six months after certain conditions were met.

It appears not all have been met, with Solomzi Mbada, Armscor Group Executive Manager: Corporate Support telling defenceWeb “the relevant agreements were concluded with Denel to effect the transfer” but “certain Treasury approvals still have to be obtained by Denel”.

Ahead of the May ministerial announcement there were indications China’s Poly Technologies would become involved in the dockyard after Denel the previous September entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the company to that effect. Talk at the time was that the MOU was predicated on the Chinese company winning either the Project Hotel or Project Biro tenders. Half of Biro- for three offshore patrol vessels – has been withdrawn with no indication of when either Requests for Information or Requests for Offer will be asked for by the national defence and security acquisition agency.

In March Armscor chief executive Kevin Wakeford said the transfer of the dockyard to DISM was “a work in progress”.

According to him a steering committee of all relevant shareholders was managing the transfer of the dockyard from Armscor to Denel “in line with the Defence Review”.

Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) may also have a role in the dockyard. In March this year Denel and TKMS signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) covering the support of the South African Navy’s three submarines and four frigates.

Denel Integrated Systems and Maritime (Denel ISM) will take responsibility for maintenance and upgrades on the SA Navy’s three Heroine Class submarines (SAS Manthatisi, SAS Charlotte Maxeke and SAS Queen Modjadji) and four Valour class frigates (SAS Amatola, SAS Isandlwana, SAS Spioenkop AND SAS Mendi).

The agreement is in line with Denel’s plans to revive the Naval Dockyard facilities in Simons Town, and consequently TKMS will provide general support to the Dockyard operations, infrastructure, and maintenance. The company will also provide technical support for maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of the frigates and submarines in the Dockyard.

The naval dockyard in Simon’s Town has experienced numerous problems and challenges, including insufficient capacity and manpower, capabilities and insufficient funding.