THE Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) has rung the alarm bell over inadequate supply of materials by the country’s ailing textile firm,
David Whitehead, which is having a negative impact on its ability to produce uniforms for its members.
ZDF spokesperson, Colonel Ben Ncube, this week told the Zimbabwe Independent that the issue of “inadequate material” was of great concern to the ZDF, calling for an urgent redress by “relevant authorities” to ensure continuity of strategic material supply.
He however denied that the army was failing to supply soldiers with new uniforms due to the shortage of materials.
“It is not true that the army is failing to supply new uniforms to its members,” said Ncube. “All officers of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces are adequately kitted to meet the standard kitting requirements.
“However, the issue of inadequate material as was presented to parliamentarians as a matter of concern to the ZDF needs urgent redress by relevant authorities to ensure continuity of strategic supply of the uniform material to the forces.”
David Whitehead is the sole manufacturer of the tough canvas-type material that the Zimbabwe Defence Industries uses to manufacture military fatigues. The company has however been facing serious viability problems and is currently under judicial management. Diversified parastatal, Industrial Development Corporation, is making moves to acquire the textile firm.
Ncube could however not divulge what contingency measures the army had devised to deal with the problem or the volume and cost of materials required from David Whitehead at a given time.
Ncube said the David Whitehead issue would be looked into by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs following Defence secretary, Trust Maphosa’s presentation last month.
Army commander, Constantine Chiwenga, also told the same committee that David Whitehead was undersupplying them and that “top military personnel” would soon meet the newly-appointed judicial manager, Cecil Madondo, “to try and sort the mess”.