Armscor takes note of the decision by Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula not to allow a proposed take-over of the Simon’s Town naval dockyard by Denel but to leave it under control and management of the defence and security acquisition agency.
She made this clear in a written answer to a Parliamentary question posed by Democratic Alliance (DA) MP, Kobus Marais.
“Denel was given until February 28, 2018 to meet the suspensive conditions of securing a strategic partner for the dockyard transfer. On the basis that the deadline was not met, I have determined no further extensions be granted and that the transfer process be cancelled. Armscor continues to manage the dockyard and deliver maintenance service of SA Navy vessels,” Mapisa-Nqakula wrote.
Now, just on three months later in its first newsletter of 2018, Armscor states: “The strategic national asset known as the Naval Dockyard in Simon’s Town will continue to be managed by Armscor. This decision came following a lengthy process of transferring the Naval Dockyard to Denel. ‘We welcome the pronouncement made by the Minister of Defence regarding this matter. We firmly believe the move is quite strategic in the interest of business continuity and projects that require to be urgently implemented,’ said Temba Goduka, former acting group executive for the Dockyard”.
The publication gives no further information about either business continuity or projects but supplies an overview of shipbuilding creating jobs for South Africans as part of the blue economy sector of Operation Phakisa.
“Shipbuilding is a designated sector and as such a mandatory local content of 60% is obligatory and in line with broader government plans of Operation Phakisa. It is estimated around 250 direct and about 2 000 indirect jobs for the Multi-Mission Inshore Patrol Vessels (MMIPV) and 320 direct and 2 560 indirect jobs for the Hydrographic Survey Vessel (HSV) will be created over a period of time through local sub-contracts and suppliers.
“The contract for the MMIPV was awarded to Damen Shipyards Cape Town. The contract is expected to run for approximately seven years with delivery of the first vessel expected in 2019.
“The project provides for acquisition of a new multi-mission patrol capability for the SA Navy including three MMIPVs and associated integrated logistic support elements.
“The vessels will be employed off the coast of South Africa, operating in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). It is envisaged the MMIPVs will be used for protection of maritime resources and not be limited to inshore patrol duties.
“The MMIPVs will have features enabling them to reduce fuel consumption and emissions and minimises slamming for improved safety on board.
“As far as the project for hydrographic survey capability is concerned, a contract was placed with Southern African Shipyards (SAS) in November 2017. The contract is expected to run for approximately four years with first steel cutting envisaged in the last quarter of 2018.
“The project provides for acquisition of a new hydrographic capability products system, inclusive of a hydrographic survey vessel (HSV), with two fully integrated inshore survey motorboats, a sea boat and hangar/flight deck arrangement for a medium maritime helicopter, upgrade of shore-based hydrographic office infrastructure at the Silvermine complex as well as associated integrated logistic support elements, including a spare, fully equipped and operationally qualified survey motorboat (SMB), identical to those aboard the HSV.
“The HSV gives the SA Navy, with South Africa a member state of the International Maritime Organisation, the ability to continue serving the international shipping community by providing nautical charts, survey and oceanographic related data, complying with International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO) standards.”
‘’This instils fresh optimism and assurance that local people will get job opportunities and advance their skills in the process,” said Sipho Mkwanazi, acting Armscor Group Executive.