The South Africa Navy has highlighted recent achievements and upcoming events, including a naval exercise with Russia and China, during an oversight visit by the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Military Veterans (PCDMV).
The PCDMV carried out numerous oversight visits between 20 August and 20 September, including to the fleet and the Maritime Warfare Training Centre on 10 September, the SA Navy said. Chief of the South African Navy (SAN), Vice Admiral Mosuwa Hlongwane, gave an overview of the SAN’s mandate, challenges and achievements and Flag Officer Fleet, Rear Admiral Bulele Mhlana, presented on the mandate of Fleet Command as well as its current and future achievements. The committee also engaged with the SAS Amatola ship’s company on their day to day tasks, during a visit on board.
Hlongwane highlighted some of the SAN’s achievements including its support for the border safeguarding mission Operation Corona, the participation by SAS Spioenkop in the International Fleet Review hosted by India; SAS Amatola’s deployment to Europe for participation in the SS Mendi centenary commemoration, Exercise Good Hope VII and visiting several African ports on the return voyage as well as participation in various joint, inter-departmental, inter-agency and multinational exercises during 2018; Exercise Red Lion (annual fleet force preparation exercise), Exercise Atlasur (with Brazil and Uruguay), Exercise Ibsamar VI (with Brazil and India), Exercise Ndlovu (Joint SANDF exercise), Exercise Utulivu Africa (command post exercise), Exercise Umondzi (command post exercise in Malawi) and Exercise Raven (chemical, biological and radiological exercises in Cape Town).
The SAN also adopted a Hydrographic Bill, No 19 of 2018, on 30 October 2018. The draft Bill provides for nautical cartography in South Africa in compliance with international obligation and for the Hydrographer of the SA Navy to become the National Hydrographer.
As part of Project Tshintsha celebrating 25 years of democracy within the SAN, a number of events have taken place such as the Navy Band Garden Concerts (2 June and 4 August), Sea Cadet Training Programme (16 to 22 June), Logo Competition, Billboards of Chiefs’ of Navy since 1994, Fleet Pulling Regatta (26 August), Official Naming Ceremony of the Naval Base Simon’s Town Headquarters (19 September), 25th Peoples’ Navy Commemoration Memorial Service (20 September), Book Launch (19 September), and 25 Year medal/coin to be released.
Rear Admiral Mhlana also mentioned the multi-national exercise between the People’s Republic of China, Russian Federation and South African that will take place in November 2019.
During the oversight visit Hlongwane highlighted the South African Navy’s mandate to “provide prepared and supported maritime defence capabilities for the defence and protection of South Africa,” reports the SA Navy.
Mhlana said that, “Despite being stretched to its limits due to lack of capacity, the Fleet Command continues to attempt to prepare forces and capabilities to undertake missions that the SA Navy must fulfil in order to meet the Military Strategic Objectives.”