Vice Admiral Johannes Mudimu, the Chief of the South African Navy, has made “clarion call” on Africa’s politicians to take note of the need for maritime security.
In his welcoming address to the chiefs of several African and other navies gathered in Cape Town for the 3rd Sea Power for Africa Symposium, Mudimu said he wanted the conference to produce a “programme of action that will appeal to our leaders to take immediate action… What is it that must be done in new ways to provide safety and security in the many challenges we face in the maritime domain.”
Mudimu said he felt “pained to see that the issues of criminality such as piracy and oil theft continue unabated on the West and East Coasts of our continent.
“The deplorable issues of human trafficking where numerous people perish at sea through using un-seaworthy boats to gain access to Europe in search of a better life. This situation is further perpetuated on the West Coast of our continent by the access points being used by drug smuggling syndicates to route drugs to our continent and Europe.
“This results in the destruction of our youth. Turning them into worthless drug addicts and thus denying our continent the opportunity for our youth to develop into the scientists, engineers and other professionals we need to flex the economic muscle of our continent.
“We continue to notice the rise in statistics that speak of a face of a continent that is flooded with small arms and weapons that in many cases are smuggled by sea. This fuels the conflict that plagues parts of our continent. I wonder how many more symposia will be required to resolve all these situations,” Mudimu asked.
The SA maritime chief says the “Navies of the world face common challenges and thus need a collective approach to overcome them head on.
“We need to be aware of what is happening in our waters, who and what is being transported and by which vessels. This collective approach covers many areas where we must work together, and during the next few days we will deliberate on this plot the way forward.
“Colleagues, while we gather here over the next few days we need to bear in mind that we must give hope to the people of our continent. There are pressing challenges facing our continent such as poverty, hunger, disease, conflict and corruption. We need to define a new agenda that speaks to all these challenges. We must urgently devise plans and most importantly convert them into actions to bring about peace and stability for the well being of our people. Africa will only enjoy an environment of development and prosperity when these life-threatening conditions are totally eradicated.”