Denel wants to turn its Casspirs into ambulances to help combat the coronavirus pandemic

Government-owned defence company Denel says it will mobilise its resources and expertise towards supporting the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dubbed ‘Project Sabela’, Denel said that its priority project will be for the design and development of medical ventilators.

However, the group said that it will also look at converting its Casspir armoured vehicles into field ambulances as well as producing sanitisers for industrial and medical use.

Danie du Toit, group chief executive of Denel, said that engineers are already working round the clock on the initiative.

“We are still in the early stages of the project, but we are optimistic that this local initiative will help to alleviate the dire need for medical ventilators that are required in great numbers at both public and private hospitals,” he said.

“We are proud to respond immediately and positively to a request from the Department of Public Enterprises to drive the ventilator project. As a state-owned company we are committed to utilising our skills, technology and experience in support of the national objectives to combat the scourge of the Covid-19 pandemic at our doorstep.”

Du Toit added that a task team has been formed consisting of experts from Denel, Armscor, Eskom, the CSIR and other entities to investigate designs and produce a prototype of a local medical ventilator.

“Through Project Sabela we are now focusing all our efforts on the current medical and humanitarian crisis facing South Africa and the world,” he said.

“We are confident that we will soon make huge strides in the development of locally-designed ventilators at a time when global shortages are experienced.”

Read: New Tracker data shows which South Africans are staying at home during the lockdown – and those that are not

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Denel wants to turn its Casspirs into ambulances to help combat the coronavirus pandemic