LEADING EDGE | ​From Strength to Strength

by Andrew Ngozo


Appreciating Women who paved the way


At the helm of the South African Department of Defence and Mility Veterans is Hon. Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. She discusses the department’s need to develop a footprint in the global defence network and how this will work for the greater good of the nation. Minister Mapisa-Nqakula states that we must never underestimate the role played by women in South Africa’s history. Just as they selflessly fought back then, so will they continue protecting South Africa and its future generations.


Honourable Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, South African


The need to ‘think global and act local’ has become increasingly important. Recently we have seen the South Africa government respond to this challenge with the launch of the National Defence Industry Council (NDIC). What is its main focus?
 The NDIC’s formation is based on government’s stated objective of assisting the local defence industry to develop a footprint in the global defence market, while creating jobs, growing the economy and cultivating a strong skills base in the sector.

This is especially relevant in an environment where local industry has to rely heavily on export sales for sustainability due to limited local defence spending potential.


What do you believe the local (internal) impact of this move will be?
It will ensure that the SA Defence Industry is optimally utilised in all defence capital acquisition programmes of the SANDF and other security agencies. This will be in support of the national imperative of localisation of industry as well as some form of strategic independence, particularly in the maintenance of equipment as well as future upgrades thereof.


The celebration by the South African National Defence Force earlier this year of International Women’s day carried particular significance for South Africa and its women. Can you tell us more?
The commemoration of International Women’s Day was adopted at Copenhagen in 1910 as a way to unite the women of the world in their demands for women’s emancipation. Our International Women’s Day activities kick-started the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the historic Women’s March of 1956. It was an important opportunity to express our appreciation for all the women who paved the way for this generation and those continuing to fight for the emancipation of women in boardrooms, at home and in other spheres.


The Department recently launched the Military Veterans Gender Forum. What does it seek to achieve?
It is aimed at encouraging female veterans to organise themselves proactively and to be entrepreneurs in cooperatives and/or small businesses so that they can avail themselves of the government’s Women Military Veterans benefits and to align themselves with the relevant government policies and legislation. They should not hesitate to contact government, the department and the Department of Small Business Development for help. Further, we are seriously contemplating the establishment of rehabilitation centres and general wellness centres in provinces to assist military veterans in need of such facilities. 



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