Denel will not be taking over management and operations of the naval dockyard at Simon’s Town in the foreseeable future.
That’s the word from Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
“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,” she told opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow defence and military veterans minister Kobus Marais in a written response to a Parliamentary question.
Mapisa-Nqakula also put the future of the dockyard firmly in the hands of Armscor chief executive Kevin Wakeford and his team saying the state-owned defence and security acquisition agency “is now tasked with pursuing a renewal strategy” for the dockyard.
At the start of April Denel, replying to questions posed by defenceWeb on its assumption of management of the dockyard, said “consultations with various key stakeholders are at a very sensitive point and we are unable to comment”.
This was just over a month after the February 28 deadline set by Minister Mapisa-Nqakula expired.
Earlier this year, ahead of the Ministerial deadline, Armscor indicated it was ready, willing and able to hand over management of the dockyard to the state-owned defence and technology conglomerate adding there were National Treasury issues outstanding.
Mapisa-Nqakula also used the Parliamentary question to clear up any confusion or misunderstanding about the dockyard and its role in the acquisition and construction of new inshore patrol vessels and hydrographic ship for the SA Navy. This was obviously in relation to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Armed Forces Day speech.
The man who became Commander-in-Chief of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) when he was sworn in as President in February, told crowds in the Northern Cape provincial capital the naval dockyard, a strategic national asset, would enhance South Africa’s shipbuilding capability, an integral component on the blue economy component of Operation Phakisa.
“The SANDF will this year lead the rejuvenation of the naval dockyard in Simon’s Town,” he said, adding “it will commence with the building of patrol and survey vessels for the SA Navy to rejuvenate the national shipbuilding industry”.
Mapisa-Nqakula told Marais: “The tenders relating to projects Hotel (hydrographic vessel) and Biro (in- and offshore patrol vessels) are standalone projects and have no interface with the dockyard transfer”.