Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula

South African defense minister Nosiviwe Noluthando Mapisa-Nqakula (Credit Image: © Japaridze Mikhail/TASS via ZUMA Press)

Defence and military veterans minister Nosiviwe Mapisa Nqakula wants greater involvement of women and young black South Africans in the country’s multi-billion rand defence industry.

To achieve this‚ Mapisa Nqakula has introduced a “defence industry charter” which will also see military veterans participate and become entrepreneurs in the “white male dominated” sector.

Mapisa Nqakula was briefing the media on her department’s budget priorities before delivering her budget votes speech in Parliament on Thursday.

“The defence industry charter is a charter that will now pave the way for inclusion into this sector of young black South Africans. Let me remind all of us that the defence industry is a very well organised industry in this country. However‚ it is a white male dominated industry. So the idea‚ the intention of having this charter‚ is in the first instance for women. I’m talking about women of all races – white women did not have access to this industry‚” said Mapisa Nqakula.

She said transformation of the defence industry remains a “critical strategic goal”.

“In this regard‚ we established the National Defence Industry Council last year to facilitate a platform for government support and repositioning of the defence industry‚” said Mapisa Nqakula.

The charter will see the establishment of a Defence Enterprise and Supplier Development Fund with the turnover threshold for emerging and small businesses to be lowered to R5 million per year.

“I’m talking about young black entrepreneurs. We would want to develop black industrialists. It’s a very difficult sector to penetrate because even though a lot of work is being done with South African companies‚ it is big South African companies‚” said Mapisa Nqakula.

She said they also want to create economic opportunities for military veterans through the charter.

The charter has been submitted to the Minister of Trade and Industry‚ Rob Davies‚ to initiate the process of publication and public comment.

“It is our intention to officially launch the charter in June of this year‚” said Mapisa Nqakula.

She said the budget allocation for the entire vote in the financial year 2017/2018 stood at R48 billion which is approximately one percent of the GDP.

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