Secretary for Defence, Dr Sam Gulube, has been named as chairman of the newly formed SA National Defence Industry Council (NDIC) and he has set a challenging agenda for the 15-strong council and its various work streams, currently set at eight.
The new defence body was officially brought into existence today by Defence and Military Veterans Minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, who told around 300 invited guests it was an historic day for the South African defence industry and its ongoing relationship with the Department of Defence (DoD) and, in turn, the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).
“After years of gruelling work and having obtained the approval of both the Cabinet and Parliament for implementation of the Defence Review we are today fulfilling one of the key recommendations emanating from Chapter 15 of the Review – the establishment of the NDIC.”
According to Mapisa-Nqakula the NDIC originated from an appreciation that the local defence industry could not exist and develop effectively on its own without the targeted support and direction of government in the form of the Ministry of Defence.
“This is especially relevant in an environment where local industry has to rely heavily on export sales for sustainability due to limited local defence spending potential.
“Internally, the NDIC would ensure the South African defence industry is optimally utilised in all defence capital acquisition programmes of the SANDF and other security agencies. This would be in support of the national imperative of localisation as well as some form of strategic independence particularly in the maintenance of equipment as well as future upgrades.
“The NDIC is created to underpin the viability and competitiveness of the local defence industry and will enable the Department of Defence and Military Veterans to develop or preserve capabilities it has identified as being of sovereign and strategic importance in terms of design, development, manufacturing and in-service support with the co-operation and understanding of the local defence industry as a sector.”
She pointed out that the NDIC was an embodiment of “who we are and what we want to be” and provides a platform to direct, support and preserve the South African defence industry as a national asset.
Mapisa-Nqakula is of the opinion that the establishment of the NDIC will ensure “our men and women in uniform are equipped with the best and most reliable equipment we can afford within our limited means”.
Dr Gulube said he had scheduled four meetings of the newly established NDIC for this year but it would in future meet every quarter. He wants the various work streams up and operational by month end so they will be able to report to the mid-year NDIC meeting.
Senior representatives at director general or chief executive level from the Presidency; the Department of Military Veterans; the State Security Agency; the departments of International Relations and Co-operation; Science and Technology; Public Enterprises, Trade and Industry and Small Business Development as well as Armscor, Denel, the CSIR, the Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industry Association (AMD), the Chief of Defence Materiel and the Director: Defence Industry Governance will make up the NDIC.
Gulube said the NDIC would, via its work streams, look into alternate funding models (because “a defence budget reduction is reality”) expediting acquisition and cash flows, among others.
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