The first formative steps of a naval career were successfully completed last week when 81 midshipmen graduated from the SA Naval College.
By far the majority of those who made the grade – 75 – are South Africans and will now go on to other specialist training in the maritime service of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF). The balance of those on course at the SA Navy training facility in Gordon’s Bay are from Namibia and now return to South Africa’s north-western neighbour to continue building that country’s fledgling maritime force.
SA Navy chief, Vice Admiral Mosiwa Hlongwane, was present to hear Naval College Commandant, Captain (SAN) KJ Ikaneng, congratulate them on the result achieved after nine months of hard work.
“The SA Naval College mission statement ‘to provide quality naval officers through dynamic training’ is aptly demonstrated by the calibre of junior officers who now go to employment in the fleet,” he said.
In addition to 55 sailors selected from the military skills development (MSD) volunteer system for full-time call-up, the midshipman class of 2017 also included SAN members selected from the fleet, Reserve Force members and four SAN University Reserve Training Programme (URTP) members.
Elaborating on the MSDs who made it, the College Commandant pointed out that recruiting criteria for them included meeting the SANDF health and fitness requirements, leadership aptitude and “the academic potential to achieve a bachelor’s degree, a requirement for all officers in the SANDF”.
The MSDs completed the three month basic training period before attending an officer’s assessment week and the initial officer selection board. The successful candidates then had to complete the 33 week-long formative officer training course.
Awards were presented to Mid TT Mabotja (Hofmeyr trophy for sustained performance in seamanship and the Heydenrych trophy for highest academic assessment in management), Mid VM Ngcezu (Payne trophy for general dress and bearing), Mid WT Garnett-Bennett (Lega Navale Roma trophy for significant development and sustained performance in sailing bosun and laser dinghies), Mid KJ Tsatsi (SA Naval College floating trophy for development and commitment), Mid L Dludlu (Sank trophy for coastal navigation) and Mid V Beukes (Wight trophy for best leadership).