Denel is rapidly expanding its presence in Somalia, providing vital life support services to United Nations-led initiatives to broker peace and build democracy in the strife-torn East African country.
The company has a specialised business unit which provides a wide range of life support services ranging from facility maintenance, catering and laundry services to trauma medicine and the training of drivers operating the company’s mine-protected vehicles.
“Our activities in Somalia demonstrate Denel’s commitment to peace processes in Africa,” says Riaz Saloojee, the Group Chief Executive of Denel SOC. “But, it also shows our versatility and capacity to provide high-level support and advice to activities outside of the defence and security environment where Denel is a well-established global leader.”
A number of United Nations agencies are currently part of the international efforts to end the two decades-long civil strife in Somalia and provide humanitarian services to the population. Denel has contracts with three agencies – UNOPS, responsible for infrastructure and peace-building including mine action services; UNSOA which delivers logistical support to the African Union Mission and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) coordinating rural development and poverty reduction programmes.
“We are, in essence, running a number of small, self-contained UN camps in Somalia – three in the capital of Mogadishu and three more in Baidoa, Garowe and Kismaayo, close to the country’s border with Kenya,” says Mr Saloojee.
Denel’s presence in Somalia has grown from nine staff members in 2009 to 461 today, including Somali citizens and other foreign nationals employed to perform essential tasks.
It’s cleaning and maintenance staff looks after 53 offices, 420 bedrooms, eight kitchens and ablution facilities. In Mogadishu catering staff prepares three healthy meals a day for 510 United Nations and Denel staff members and the laundry services do the collection, washing and ironing of more than 21 tons of linen and clothing every month.
Denel was partially responsible for the building of the offices and accommodation and continues to perform maintenance services such as electricity, plumbing and mechanical repairs.
Security is provided by other contractors but Denel is responsible for the management of this service and its integration into the daily activities of the camps. An internationally qualified trauma medic, provided by Denel, is responsible for primary health care, emergencies and health and safety issues.
Mr Saloojee says Denel Mechem does not provide demining and bomb disposal services to Somalia. However, the UN Mine Action Service makes use of Denel’s Casspir mine protected vehicles and Denel’s team of mechanics is responsible for keeping this fleet and its support vehicles, including front-end loaders and bulldozers, in top condition.
The company also provides driver and technical training for the mine and bomb detection teams who use Denel‘s equipment and technology in their operations.
Mr Saloojee says Denel wants to grow its share of life support services in other parts of Africa. “We have the capacity and experience to provide similar services to a number of UN and African Union missions across the continent.”
The current, limited, operations in Somalia and Mozambique have contributed significantly to Denel sales figures in the current financial year. There are also significant opportunities to broaden the range of field facilities that can be offered to clients – to include security systems and monitoring, ammunition management, water purification and the management of smaller airfields.
“We see this as strong area for new revenue growth in Denel,” says Mr Saloojee. “It also fits into our broader objectives to diversify the company’s activities and share technology and experience across business units to provide all-encompassing solutions that can meet the needs of our clients.”
For further information, contact:
Cell: +27 (0) 79 511 6257
Tel: +27 (0) 12 671 2662