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Ministry of Defence loses confidence in August 26

Ministry of Defence loses confidence in August 26

Zorena Jantze

AFTER twenty-one years in existence, August 26 holdings company, a Namibian company wholly owned by government, today held its first ever Annual General Meeting (AGM) and retreat where it was also revealed that government has not been satisfied with some of its decisions.


During the AGM today, the company revealed that the Ministry of Defence has lost confidence in some of the subsidiaries it has been investing in due to non-delivery. 


The August 26 holdings company (Pty) Ltd was incorporated under the companies Act (Act 61 of 1973) on 14 August 1998. 


The company has a list of companies which are wholly or partly owned by its shareholder, the Ministry of Defence.

BACK IN THE SPOTLIGHT: August 26 Textile and Garment Factory are among a few of the companies owned by the Ministry of Defence through the August 26 Group of companies. Photo: Contributed

These companies are Enercon, Windhoeker Maschinen Fabrick (Pty) Ltd, Sat-Com, August 26 textiles and garment factory, Agro-Tour Development Initiative, August Construction, NamForce Life Insurance, August 26 Industries (Pty) Ltd, August 26 Logistics and Sea Side Hotel and Spa. 


In her opening remarks, the deputy executive director of August 26, Dr. Wilhelmina Shivute, stated that over the last 21 years, August 26 holdings diversified its investments from one subsidiary to 10, with an asset base of N$591 million. 


Shivute, however, stated that despite these achievements, some of the subsidiaries have not gained significant market share growth and have not managed to pay dividends to the Ministry of Defence since their inception, which is a growing concern. 


She added that the AGM and retreat will enable transparency, provide updates to the shareholder and interact with company board of directors face to face. 


The company also announced that it will be rebranding itself by changing the name and logo, from August 26 holdings to August 26 Group of companies. 


Furthermore, a 5-year strategic plan from the year 2020 t0 2026 was also launched by the company, which will facilitate in restructuring the company.


While presenting this year’s plan, Colonel Fillimon Shafashike reverberated the same concerns, stating that the organisation has experienced many challenges and thus took a decision to restructure the group to ensure that the Ministry of Defence, as a main shareholder, receives good returns. 


He added that this new plan will ensure subsidiaries either make a profit, or face being shut down or merged. 


“We are cognizant of some of the negative effects of the restructuring exercise, however, this process is necessary to reposition the group to meet the mandate the company was established for,” Shafashike stated.


He further stated that a weakness identified to be remedied by the restructuring process includes a weak governance framework, poor monitoring and evaluation, lack of skills and expertise at board and senior management level, and misaligned priorities between subsidiaries and the holding company, amongst others. 


He added that the remodeled August 26 group of companies will prioritise military projects and needs, diversify markets and products in order to generate value for the shareholder and be positioned to compete in the open market. 


Also giving a keynote address at the event, the Defence deputy minister, Billy Mwaningange, stated that the rebranding of August 26 came at the right time as the company has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. 


“The nation does not know that the Defence Industry does not receive state funding and therefore is not subject to scrutiny by agencies responsible for accounting public funds,” Mwaningange said. 


He further stated that the rebranding will save the Defence Industry from the unfriendly rhetoric by some nationals that cling to the era of white privilege and obsessive Eurocentric chauvinism which refuses to see what August 26 really stands for. 


During today’s meeting, the media present was barred from asking questions pertaining to the company.


The media was also not allowed to sit in on the financial report sessions and was told to leave the room after the opening remarks.

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