Denel ISM to take over management of SA Navy dockyard
Denel Integrated Systems and Maritime (Denel ISM) is set to take over the management of the South African Naval Dockyard in Simon’s Town after it was handed back to the Navy by Armscor. This was revealed late last month by Acting Denel CEO Zwelakhe Ntshepe, who said that agreements were being signed for Denel ISM to take over as managers of the dockyard. Armscor will act as the procurement agency interfacing between the Navy and Denel ISM. The agreement was finalised last Wednesday. The actual transfer of management and control of the dockyard to Denel ISM will take place six months after certain conditions are met. Ntshepe said the dockyard needs investment and Denel will tackle that going forward. “Denel Integrated Systems & Maritime is set to assume the role of strategic partner to the SA Navy, as well as the broader SA shipbuilding and repair industry. The maritime division of the business has given Denel a strong foothold in the naval environment and the company is confident it will become a catalyst in a number of maritime defence acquisition programmes currently in the pipeline,” Ntshepe said.
“Denel is considering options to enhance expertise in the sovereign capability areas envisioned by the Defence Review. These could be achieved through collaborations with third parties, internal investment or even strategic acquisitions.” Ntshepe added that “The 2015 Defence Review calls for Denel to be custodian of critical strategic and sovereign capabilities, especially in command and control and the maritime environment.” In May this year Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula announced that control of the dockyard would be returned to the Navy. “In September 2015 I instructed that the Armscor Dockyard in Simon’s Town be run under a business model as recommended by the Defence Review 2015. The Naval Dockyard is returned to the control of the Navy,” she said. In the just on nine years that control and management of the dockyard was in the hands of Armscor, the national defence and security acquisition agency, numerous problems and “challenges” were reported. According to an Armscor annual report for the 2014/15 financial year, “challenges of insufficient capacity, capabilities and funding are still experienced” with regard to the dockyard. Among problems identified over the years of Armscor’s management were insufficient capacity, capabilities and insufficient funding. Manpower levels were said to be “well below” the minimum needed to ensure maintenance and repair support. The dockyard has also lost capacity in the technical domain, seen as a critical support requirement. Exacerbating matters is that employment of permanent labour has been “impossible” due to budget and other funding restraints.