Experienced patrol vessel man commands first SA Navy MMIPV


When the first of the new multi-mission inshore patrol vessels (MMIPVs) takes to the water for sea acceptance trials next year, she will be commanded by a Gautenger, albeit one with 14 years’ experience – five in the SA Navy (SAN) patrol squadron.

Thirty-six-year-old Commander Jabulani Mashamba traces his roots to Ga-Rankuwa, north-west of Pretoria, but the appeal of the sea and the maritime service of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) saw him sign up in January 2007. He completed basic military training (BMT) for ratings part 1 and part 1 of officer’s military training the same year.

Academic achievements, in the form of national higher certificates in technology and defence management from the Military Academy followed before the hands-on side of the SAN took over.

In 2009, Mashamba completed Combat Officers Part 1 at the Maritime Warfare Training Centre, SAS Simonsberg, and he was appointed gunnery Officer SAS Umzimkulu (M1142) in October. With a bachelor’s degree added to his qualifications, he returned to the River Class minehunter as diving officer and subsequently navigation officer.

He obtained his bridge watch keeping certificate in November 2012 and seven months later made first acquaintance with the patrol squadron on SAS Isaac Dyobha (P1565) at Naval Base Durban obtaining his bridge warfare qualification in 2014.

All told his patrol squadron time saw him serving on Isaac Dyobha and SAS Makhanda (P1569) as assistant operations officer and operations officer on the Makhanda.

The three new MMIPVs being built by Damen Shipyards Cape Town as per Project Biro will sail as Warrior Class vessels, with the SAS Sekhukhune (P1571) destined to be the first in service come next year. The first hull was put into the water at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront in March this year before being moved to the Elliot Basin for further fitting and finishing work.

The other two MMIPVs are SAS Adam Kok (P1572) and SAS Shaka (P1573). No delivery dates are given other than that a keel-laying ceremony for hull three took place at Damen Shipyards Cape Town on 22 October. Delivery dates to the SA Navy were initially scheduled as August 2021, September 2022 and January 2024.

Sekhukhune’s 49-strong crew under Mashamba’s command is training at Simon’s Town in anticipation of their new berth’s arrival. Mashamba has seven officers, two warrant officers, 19 senior rates and 21 junior rates helping him in his task.

Before going to sea, Sekhukhune will have to successfully complete sea acceptance trials. On completion of these she will be commissioned and depart for Naval Base Durban – her home port.