At an emotional ceremony yesterday, Rear Admiral (JG) Jacobus Everhardus “Koos” Louw formally ended his 41 year naval career when he handed over command of Naval Base Simon’s Town to R Adm (JG) David Maningi Mkhonto.
Louw was first appointed as Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Naval Base Simon’s Town (NBS) on April 1, 1999, a post he held until March 1, 2005 when he was appointed as Chief of Fleet Staff at Fleet Command Headquarters, Simon’s Town. Following a further stint as Director Fleet Logistics, Louw was once again re-appointed as FOC NBS in November 2006.
“Oom Koos” as he is also known to Simon’s Town and surrounding communities, is also known for starting various community projects as part of the SA Navy’s Social Responsibility Programmes. These include the Isivunguvungu Sailing Academy, a music academy, a fishing school and two crèches in disadvantaged communities. Many of the children have subsequently represented South Africa at top-level international sailing events.
Mkhonto joined uMkhonto we Sizwe, the military wing of the Africa National Congress, in 1988 and integrated into the SA Navy in 1994. In July 1994, after the integration of the forces, he did Basic Training Orientation Course at SAS Saldanha.
Following various shore-based technical positions and then aboard minesweepers and offshore patrol vessels, Mkhonto was seconded to Armscor to become an Assistant Project Officer for Project Wills in Germany, from September 2005 until December 2007. He was appointed and delegated to head the South African Submarine Project Office in Emden where two of South Africa’s new submarines were then being built.
In February 2009, following studies at the South African National War College in Tshwane, he was appointed as Officer Commanding Fleet Maintenance Unit (FMU) Simon’s Town. The FMU is the SA Navy’s second line and quick reaction upkeep capability under functional control of Director Fleet Logistics.
In July 2009, Mkhonto was appointed as Project Officer Project Xena, a support capability of the Operational Boat Squadron (OBS) system that provides a specialised small boat Force Structure Element that is able to conduct inland water patrols including rivers and lakes.
Following the handover of the ceremonial telescope which signifies the official handing and taking over of Naval Base Simon’s Town Louw was seated on a ceremonial gun carriage, pulled by his senior officers. This is part of naval tradition where the outgoing Officer Commanding is pulled to the unit’s gates by his senior officers.
Louw retires from the Navy at the end of July, following 41 years if exemplary service to South Africa. He will next pursue opportunities outside the defence realm.