Honoring DefenceWeb as It Reaches Its 10th Anniversary

By Robbin Laird

For many years, Airbus Defence and Space hosted an annual media event. These were well run events where Airbus provided overviews on their various programs in front of an invited audience of journalists from many parts of the world.

There was a clear opportunity to meet new friends and to discuss with Airbus their thinking on the way ahead.

These were well attended and well reported events.

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to meet Guy Martin, the founder and editor of the South African-based publication defenceWeb.  We set up a partnership with Second Line of Defense and over the years I have reposted a number of articles from the website on both Second Line of Defense and our new companion website defense.info.

We also flew on the A400M together during an Airbus Defence and Space event as well.

The analyses on defenceWeb are of good quality and shine a light through the fog of a world beset by “fake news.” And given that it is a challenging continent from which to generate analyses and news of high quality, this is doubly to be appreciated.

We salute Guy Martin and his team as they celebrate their 10th year of publication.

And below, we are reprinting their piece highlighting their 10th anniversary.

2018 is an important year for defenceWeb as it marks the culmination of a successful decade of publishing as South Africa – and Africa’s – only dedicated defence and security online news site.

Acknowledgement that defenceWeb has a role in the broader South African defence sector comes from Armscor chief executive Kevin Wakeford: top defence and military analyst Helmoed Heitman; SANDF Chief: Joint Operations Lieutenant General Barney Hlatshwayo and Chief: Defence Reserves Major General Roy Anderson.

An indication of defenceWeb’s acceptance by readers can be seen from traffic to the site which started with just over a thousand readers. A year later this figure was 14 000 plus a month and three months ago 86 0000 visitors and 230 000 hits were recorded.

In his congratulatory message Wakeford notes “it was courageous to start defenceWeb in 2008 during the global financial crisis” adding the publication defied the odds and now dominates defence journalism in South Africa.

“It has always been on top of matters defence and military. defenceWeb has an understanding of our sector and the publication sticks to what the defence sector means to the national economy.

“Armscor has always had a good relationship with defenceWeb. It keeps us timeously informed on defence matters. defenceWeb is first to report on events, conferences, annual reports, corporate plans and the SA National Defence Force. It adds value in keeping AMD, the South African defence industry and the SANDF up to date with current information and trends. defenceWeb covered Armscor’s new vision and strategy professionally. Armscor recognises that defenceWeb is supportive of Armscor’s new vision and strategy.

“Armscor congratulates defenceWeb on its tenth anniversary and encourages future endeavours. Go from strength to strength. May the next ten years be yet another growth phase.”

Heitman offers a “well done over the past decade as the only regular source of defence-related news in a country that sadly neglects defence, even to the extent of most of the media knowing little and caring less”.

“defenceWeb has filled a vital gap, not least in providing a platform for opinions of those interested in defence issues, and will I hope, continue to do so for the next decade and more,” he said adding tongue-in-cheek, “in the world of electronic journalism 10 years must mark at least the attainment of majority, so someone should be giving defenceWeb the key to the front door. Not sure which front door, perhaps the one to the Armscor/Department of Defence building?”

Hlatshwayo points to the important role of the media in ensuring the public is aware of what the SANDF does.

“Since the launch of defenceWeb at the Africa Aerospace Defence (AAD) exhibition in 2008 there has been a symbiotic relationship between defenceWeb and the Joint Ops Division. In my many years spent at Joint Operation in different posts, I have been involved in many articles carried by defenceWeb. I consider defenceWeb a professional, neutral and ethical media house whose purpose it is to provide factual information for its readers. I look forward to more successful interactions with defenceWeb.

“Thank you for your contribution in informing stakeholders of what is happening in the joint operations environment as well as sharing our successes. Congratulations on your 10 year anniversary and may you go from strength to strength with your successful electronic publication. Hlatshwayo said.

Andersen adds his congratulations saying “the publication is an invaluable source of information on defence matters, not only in South Africa but also the rest of the world”.

“Wearing my hat as Chief Defence Reserves, I am grateful to defenceWeb for consistent coverage of the Reserve Force which is read extensively by our members. Recent articles on the Updated Reserve Force Service System have done a great deal to communicate the intended future direction of the Reserves.

“The number of monthly hits on defenceWeb website is growing impressively and augurs well for the future.”