SecDef addresses co-operation between DoD and defence industry

The South African Aerospace, Maritime and Defence Industry Association (AMD) held its 25th anniversary meeting at the CSIR on 8 June, where Secretary of Defence, Dr Sam Gulube, gave the keynote address. He said the fact that AMD was celebrating such a milestone proved it was a “legitimate representative of the SA defence industry and a genuine partner to the SA government in general and the DoD in particular”. He said the relationship between the government agencies, such as Armscor and the DoD and the defence industry, notably as represented by AMD, had matured and improved over the years. He praised the defence industry members for their participation in the 2015 Defence Review and National Industry Council (NDIC) and Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) projects. The main reason for creating the NDIC in March last year was to back SA’s defence industry, although BEE was also a main concern. Going forward, an NDIC Secretariat will be formed to comply with Defence Review requirements. A decision on implementation was hoped before the end of the year. Secondly public comment had been requested on the SA Defence Industry (SADI) Charter. Gulube referred to the MoD’s launching of its BEE Draft Charter which he hoped members of SADI would have consulted and given input on. The Ministry of Defence is to launch the Charter on 23 June. In addition, a Charter Council would be established as well as a possible “standalone BEE structure” in the Department of Defence as a separate Directorate.

One way the NDIC had already supported the SA defence industry (SADI) was in helping create Defence Co-operation Agreements (DEFCOMS) with India and Nigeria. The Defence Secretary also revealed that he was going to Russia in mid-June together with representatives of the SADI with the aim a creating a new DEFCOM with Russia. He stressed the hope that South African products present in African markets would further enhance South Africa’s presence in the global defence market, and added that specific countries needed to be prioritised because of financial limits on the SADI and government. He said the new NDIC would need to balance the interests of the SA industry with those of government and its constitutional obligations. The NDIC would work to support SADI internationally as well as locally. He said he was aware of a Defence Industry Fund being considered and said government procedures for defence tenders and the like were being streamlined. He added that so far five Black-owned SMMEs had been launched and NDIC was concentrating on radar and related technologies.

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