SA Navy seems set for an interim chief


Indications are the maritime service of the national defence force will, like the air force and the army previously, have an acting chief as from Friday (1 July).

Current CNavy Vice Admiral Mosiwa Hlongwane ends his eight year tour of duty on 30 June and – as yet – there is no announcement of a successor. defenceWeb is reliably informed by sources in Simon’s Town that a planned change of command parade scheduled for 30 June is postponed with no new date announced.

If the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Command Council and Minister Thandi Modise decide on an interim SA Navy (SAN) chief, it will be the third time a service chief has not handed command to a successor since the establishment of the force in 1994.

The first came following the untimely death of Lieutenant General Thabiso Mokhosi, named successor to current SANDF Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Lindile Yam, in November 2019 as SA Army Chief. His death saw now retired two-star Mannetjies de Goede named acting landward force chief until Lieutenant General Lawrence Mbatha was named chief in April 2020.

At the SA Air Force (SAAF), a hiatus period was also in place following Zakes Msimang’s retirement in September 2020. Then deputy chief, Lieutenant General Mzayifani Buthelezi, acted as chief until confirmation of Lieutenant General Wiseman Mbambo as CAF in June last year.

Defence and SAN watchers put forward five possible future SA Navy chiefs, with two of them in positions outside the maritime service. All wear SAN uniform.

Those in the SA Navy are current Flag Officer Fleet (FOF), Rear Admiral “Kop” Nkomonde, current SAN deputy chief Rear Admiral Monde Lobese, and another two-star: David Mhkonto, currently Chief Director: Maritime Strategy. Those in uniform, but elsewhere in the SANDF, are Rear Admiral Bubele Mhlana, Chief of Staff at the Joint Operations Division, and Vice Admiral Asiel Kubu, Department of Defence (DoD) Chief: Human Resources.