PRETORIA -- The South African Army is growing frustrated at the pace of Project Hoefyster, which is intended to deliver hundreds of Badger infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs).
Lt. Gen. Lindile Yam, the chief of the Army, told media earlier in the month, "As Chief of the Army and the Command Council we are very unhappy with delays that have gone with Hoefyster." He said there were "extreme further delays" to the IFV program, revealing that "there will be no delivery of the Badger -- not in the near future."
Project Hoefyster envisions the delivery of 244 Badger IFVs to the South African Army. DefenceWeb noted that the vehicles were slated for delivery in 2022, a delay of three years from earlier plans to begin transferring the IFVs to the Army beginning this year.
The South African Army is presently "completely irrelevant" due to the "non-delivery of Hoefyster," Lt. Gen. Yam said. He added, "We don’t know what to say anymore. Delaying that is delaying South Africa’s constitutional mandate. It’s not something we should be discussing without consequences. It’s not justifiable by any means."
At present, the military is not considering adjusting its plans for receiving the Badgers, defenceWeb reported. However, the Badgers are more expensive to produce now given that the military must import components from abroad and the national currency, the Rand, has fallen against the dollar and other major currencies such as the euro.
The Lt. Gen. lamented that South African procurement is "becoming chaos" given the problems facing the defense industry. He said, "Some projects have been delivered on; some we have had to close down because money just got taken away by Treasury."