Year in review: 2016’s top stories
Arms theft apparently only the tip of the iceberg at Naval Base Simon’s Town – July 2016
The theft of firearms, ammunition and hand grenades from six storerooms at Naval Base Simon’s Town’s armoury drew condemnation and shock, but this was not the first time an event like this happened – sentries at Tempe previously had their assault rifles stolen from them – and other such incidents are common throughout the world.
READ MOREMapisa-Nqakula told she is “not nearly good enough” by top weekly
Remains of SANDF member returned to SA
SA contributing to stability efforts in Africa
Botswana acquires 14 Bat Hawk aircraft to boost anti-poaching operations – June 2016
Botswana received 14 Bat Hawk light surveillance aircraft from South African manufacturer Micro Aviation, which were deployed in airborne anti-poaching patrols to protect elephants and other endangered animal species in four major game reserves. With poaching high across Africa in 2016, poaching and anti-poaching news continued to make headlines and will most likely be a big topic in 2017 as well.
Defence Minister’s clarification on “stolen” SAAF aircraft – June 2016
Defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula shone herself and the Department of Defence in a bad light when she claimed that aircraft that were retired from the South African Air Force (SAAF) and sent mostly to museums were ‘stolen’ and this lack of aircraft was causing problems training new pilots. Unsurprisingly, the Minister has been roasted by the media and opposition parties for her poor performance in 2016. Criticism was focused on her poor track record in parliament and failure to arrest the decline of the SANDF.
Possible permanent grounding for either Gripen or Hawk coming – March 2016
The SA Air Force’s 10% budget cut for the 2016/17 financial year coupled with the Rand’s decreasing value prompted concerns that either 2 Squadron (Gripens) or 35 Combat Flying School (Hawks) could be closed, but it is not yet clear if this is a real possibility or not. A lack of funding continues to hamper the effectiveness of the SAAF and SANDF as a whole and the situation is expected to be even more dire in 2017.
SA Air Force maintenance suffering from loss of skilled technicians – May 2016
The aircraft maintenance capabilities of the SAAF decreased dramatically since the last of the AMG/Denel support personnel were laid off, resulting in serious implications for aircraft serviceability and safety. Over 500 skilled personnel were dismissed after the contract was cancelled, with ramifications continuing – there is speculation that the C-130 fleet may be grounded completely due to a lack of spares and skilled maintenance technicians.
Rumours of a salary increase doing the rounds in the SANDF – July 2016
Misinformation that members of the SANDF could expect a 7% salary increase in 2016 caused a furore among soldiers, which was later compounded by talk of massive personnel cuts (16 000) to affect the SANDF. The shrinking defence budget means some personnel will be laid off but it is not yet clear how many.
Minister among those paying tribute to Mgwebi – August 2016
Lieutenant General Derrick Mgwebi’s appointment in December 2015 as the Force Commander of the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) was a feather in the cap of the SANDF and South Africa as a whole. Mapisa-Nqakula joined many others in congratulating Mgwebi, who had previously delivered sterling service to the SANDF as head of Joint Operations, tasked with peacekeeping and border security operations, amongst others.
Minister told affirmative action doesn’t work in SANDF – May 2016
Employment, salaries and transformation are hot topics amongst the SANDF. When Mapisa-Nqakula noted an increase in white military skills development recruitment, the Freedom Front Plus lambasted the career prospects of whites in the SANDF due to affirmative action and called for it to be scrapped.
Austrian special forces prepare for deployment in Mali – June 2016
The situation in Mali remained tense throughout 2016, with attacks on peacekeepers occurring with alarming regularity. The Austrian Army’s consideration of a deployment of special forces to fight resurgent terrorist groups in the north of the country highlighted the lack of progress there has been in maintaining peace there.
Two star admiral is acting Joint Ops Chief – October 2016
The SANDF’s Joint Operations division saw quite a shakeup in 2016, with Mgebi appointed to the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC and his interim replacement, Lieutenant General Duma Mdutyana, passing away. Mdutyana was subsequently replaced as acting Joint Ops chief by Rear Admiral Derek Christian.
- Armed man arrested trying to enter Tunisian parliament
- Des Barker leaves the CSIR but will keep on flying
- SA Air Force celebrates first African female C-130 commander
- Minister confirms 35 Squadron grounded
- Shrinking budget hits SA Navy operations
- Parliament hears it’s more dangerous being a farmer than a policeman
- SpaceX defeats Boeing-Lockheed partnership for GPS launch contract
- Is funding for a new VIP aircraft coming from the SDA, DA asks
- Armscor knows “nothing” about any new VVIP aircraft acquisition
- Parliament will debate farm attacks and murders
Airbus Defence and Space appoints four new executive committee members
by AIRBUS Defence & Space, 28 March 2017
Jana Rosenmann, Grazia Vittadini, Bernhard Brenner and Peter Weckesser join the executive committee.
Denel seeks closure on legality of Denel Asia JV
by Denel Corporate, 24 March 2017
The company has applied to the High Court of SA for an order declaring it obtained approval to form a joint venture with VR Laser Asia.
TactiCall system has quality, performance recognised by certification
by Saab, 23 March 2017
The Airwave certificate allows Saab to install and operate the TactiCall Dispatcher products at any UK customer using Airwave.