Come tomorrow (Thursday, 21 October) SAS Saldanha, the major training unit for the SA Navy (SAN), will have a new officer commanding in the form of four-ringer Berlinah Madonsela.
The 20-year maritime service veteran takes over command of the Western Cape training base from Rear Admiral (JG) Sikhumbuzo Msikinya.
Madonsela’s career in the SAN includes sea and shore postings with one of her highlights being part of SAS Isandlwana’s (F146) crew when the Valour Class frigate took part in Exercise Atlasur VI in South America.
Other memorable postings for her include Staff Officer 2 Maintenance, Staff Officer 2 and Staff Officer 1 Fleet Assessment and Selection as well as the first woman to command SA Naval Staff College in Gordon’s Bay.
Back in 2001 with her schooling completed, Madonsela was recruited for the then Department of Defence (DoD) Youth Foundation training programme. Good results saw her selected for the maritime service of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).
She completed basic military training (BMT) and Military Training for Officers (Part 1). In 2003 Madonsela was posted as an assistant career manager for combat mustering and in 2004, she joined the crew of SAS Isandlwana as assistant personnel officer then appointed personnel officer for four years on F146. She holds harbour watch keeping, flight deck control and flight deck officer qualifications.
Madonsela was shore-based from 2008, serving in various human resources postings in Simon’s Town before moving to the Naval Staff College.