CNavy investigates unauthorised workshop and attends junior officers’ graduation


Ahead of last week’s junior officers’ graduation parade the Chief of the SA Navy made an unannounced detour to a naval training and technical facility to inspect – first hand – a report of an unauthorised business operating at SAS Wingfield.

A Navy statement has it Vice Admiral Mosiwa Hlongwane was “made aware of a civilian company operating from SAS Wingfield without the required authority”.

The matter was reported to SA Navy headquarters in Pretoria by a whistleblower and saw Hlongwane make an unannounced visit to Wingfield.

His visit brought to light a civilian mechanical repair workshop operating from an unused shed on the base, which also houses Naval Storage Depot Wingfield.

“The Chief of the Navy sees this matter in a serious light and will leave no stone unturned to determine who authorised this arrangement and whether any naval officer may have unduly benefited. The company in question will be ordered to vacate the premises,” a statement said.

Following this unwanted and unnecessary intrusion, the country’s top sailor turned his attention to the SA Naval College at Gordon’s Bay where he was the inspection and podium officer for the junior officers’ graduation parade. Hlongwane oversaw the graduation of 53 junior officers who now move on to the fleet and other functional and academic training institutions in the South African defence and military environment.

Hlongwane told the parade the junior officers graduating this year had been given the necessary tools to make South Africa and the Navy a better place for all – “a place where all South Africans are and feel safe”.

Looking at the future of the broader SA National Defence Force (SANDF) and the maritime service in particular, the country’s top sailor stressed the newcomers’ journey through their naval careers would not always be smooth sailing.

“The most difficult challenge I wish to emphasise is the ever increasing budgetary constraint the Navy faces. This will force each of you to do things differently, to work more efficiently, effectively and smarter,” he said.

Hlongwane said this would entail the use of outside-the-box thinking and can-do attitudes because budgets “are not going to increase over the short to medium terms and this situation will be a reality for years to come”.

“The situation might become worse before it gets better,” he warned, telling the naval leaders of the future they should not bemoan how it cannot be done but should challenge themselves as to how it can be done.

In reference to what he found at SAS Wingfield, the three star admiral told the parade the SA Navy was “generally forgiving of honest mistakes” but will not tolerate indiscipline or delinquent behaviour.

“I expect my leadership cadre to be disciplined and uphold the Code of Conduct at all times as well as the values this college has taught. This is an organisation I am proud of and I expect you to serve with the same patriotism, zeal and pride I do,” Hlongwane said.