The South African Air Force’s basic training facility at Valhalla in Pretoria has become a victim of dolomite. SAAF chief Lt Gen Carlo Gagiano says the Air Force Gymnasium will be relocating to Hoedspruit in Limpopo Province.
He adds that other units, such as 68 Air School, may also move.
Gagiano says the Gymnasium will move into the Boston complex just outside the Hoedspruit base. “We used this facility before but then handed it over to the police.”
He adds the base is somewhat dilapidated at present and will be rehabilitated before the Gymnasium moves.
SAAF magazine Ad Astra says sinkhole activity has damaged most of the buildings on the base and many have been condemned as unsafe for further use.
Officer Commanding Colonel MN Sakwe said other reasons for the move “range from the fact that we want to up the Air Force standard in terms of moving these trainees away from the pressures of the city.
“There will be better control mechanisms put in place in terms of security and a soldier will be forced to behave like one as the BMT [basic military training] programme will progress for six months in the near future. Thus, there will only be two intakes per year”.
Ad Astra says the move will start on 27 November when the BMT Wing will relocate. Training at Boston will commence on 7 January.
“With just a few improvements, training facilities at Hoedspruit will be able to cater for more than 500 students with adequate accommodation for instructors. There is however need identified for re-training of instructors and as a result they will be taken on such courses to familiarise themselves with the new curriculum,” Sakwe said.