CNavy “on schedule” to attend IONS seminar


If “operational needs” do not interfere, outgoing South African Navy Chief Vice Admiral Johannes Mudimu will be in Australia at the end of March to hand over chairmanship of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS).

He is to hand over command of the maritime arm of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) to current Rear Admiral Samuel Hlongwane on March 31.

A Navy spokesman said: “The situation at present is that both Adm Mudimu and his successor are due to attend the IONS Conclave of Chiefs and Seminar in Perth, Western Australia, just prior to his command tenure ending. Depending on operational needs this could change”.

Mudimu became the Navy’s first black chief when succeeded Vice Admiral Johan Retief in March 2005 and he leaves the service with a legacy of good international relations particularly regarding his chairmanship of the 35 nation IONS. He was instrumental in making its journal – IONSphere – a reality.

IONS has as its aim improved maritime co-operation among the navies of Indian Ocean littoral states and has been in existence since February 2008 when the inaugural IONS conference was held in New Delhi, India.

Military analyst Helmoed Heitman is on record as saying Mudimu “has built a good reputation in international naval circles”.

The outgoing Navy Chief has also been active in making South Africans know their maritime service is “a people’s Navy”. This has seen naval personnel embark on community outreach programmes as far from the sea as Mafikeng as well as being actively involved in assisting disadvantaged communities and schools. Mudimu took time at the start of this school year to visit schools in KwaZulu-Natal and impart the importance of education to scholars there.

Before he retires, Mudimu will have a farewell parade in his honour at Simon’s town, SA Navy fleet headquarters, as well as the official change of command parade. Dates for both these events will be finalised soon.