ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA AT THE OPENING OF THE AFRICA AEROSPACE AND DEFENCE EXHIBITION

WATERKLOOF AIR FORCE BASE, PRETORIA 19 SEPTEMBER 2018

Programme Director,

Ministers and Deputy Ministers,

Premier of Gauteng, Mr David Makhura,

Executive Mayor of Tshwane, Mr Solly Msimanga,

Ministers and Deputy Ministers of Defence from various countries,

Members of Parliament,

The Secretary for Defence, Dr Sam Gulube,

Chief of the South African National Defence Force, General Solly Shoke,

Members of the Plenary Defence Staff Council,

Members of the Military Command Council,

Permanent Secretaries and Secretaries of Defence,

Visiting Chiefs of Defence Forces,

Directors General and representatives of government departments and agencies,

Captains of defence industries,

Members of the Board of AMD,

Members of the Board of Armscor,

Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Military and Defence Attaches,

Members of the media,

Ladies and Gentleman,

 

Welcome to the 10th Africa Aerospace and Defence exhibition.

 

This is a truly continental event that allows visitors from more than a hundred countries to interact with more than 500 exhibitors from more than 30 countries.  

 

 It brings defence agencies and defence industry together to reflect on the evolution of security – and how they must each adapt to the requirements of the future. 

 

 

South Africa views the role of the military in the modern context as a developmental force, both nationally and continentally.

 

 From a continental perspective this approach implies that the South Africa National Defence Force ought to involve itself, with African partners, in peace missions to improve security in strife torn regions.

 

 

Improved security attracts investment, encourages growth and promotes development.

 

In support of continental economic development, the SANDF forms part of the continental military intervention capability, in the form of regional intervention forces as well as the centralised capability under direct control of the African Union.

 

 These intervention capabilities can reduce the risk of major interstate conflict and civil war.

 

 From a national perspective the development role of our defence force implies involvement in border safeguarding.

 

The rapidly growing, migrating and urbanising populations are putting economies under pressure.

 

 

 

Data must be collected at border posts and from defence related surveillance technology to allow governments to define and manage trends.

 

 Our border safeguarding operation, Corona, also focuses on preventing the illegal exploitation of national resources.

 


In terms of internal security, the defence force must always be ready to provide additional capacity to maintain order and stability within the relevant governance framework.

 

 A defence force that is a developmental force unlocks substantial peace dividends for states and effectively reduces the investment required in defence over time.

 

 Your Excellencies, 

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

 

We must prioritise socio-economic objectives that provide the best possible future for the youth.  

 

Our economy is under pressure and the means available in the fiscus are finite.  

 

The South Africa National Defence Force acknowledges is adapting to this economic reality.  

 

Prioritisation within the implementation of our Defence Review focuses on the core roles of the defence force.  

 

Several ideas are being explored to modernise the funding model of defence and reduce its dependency on the fiscus.  

 

The leveraging of the economic value of many types of assets of the defence force is under development, alongside improvements in the efficiency of the defence force and the rejuvenation of the defence human resources component.  

For both security and developmental reasons, South Africa is looking after its defence industry, which is not only viewed as a Department of Defence asset.  

 

It is a national asset that has value for many departments and agencies of government.  

 

It innovates products for the greater economy, such as systems that improve the safety of railway lines or improve the efficiency of shark nets.  

 

The common TV decoder in widespread use in South Africa is based on the intellectual property from a military technology project.  

 

The industry is an important employer providing 15,000 direct jobs in 120 companies.  

 

 

It is an incubator of our scarce skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  


The industry’s engineers are exposed to production and management practices of the major international players.  


They thus become assets for the broad economy.  


Some of our aircraft-related businesses are expanding in a highly competitive environment as suppliers to the biggest players in the global aircraft industry.  


The industry is a steady earner of foreign exchange by delivering to the world leading products such as the Husky vehicle for detecting improvised explosive devices. 


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