Navy positive despite severe budget constraints
Despite a productive year of operations, the South African Navy (SA Navy) still faces a number of critical challenges, primarily amongst these being an unfavourable budgetary disposition. As thousands of visitors lined the quayside of Naval Base Simon's Town this past weekend enjoying the annual SA Navy Festival, Vice Admiral Mosiwa Hlongwane, Chief of the SA Navy, briefed journalist about the current state of the Navy. In his second year at the helm commanding the SA Navy, Hlongwane noted that although this period has been “a challenging and enjoyable period,” the SA Navy was operating under budgetary restrictions and new challenges that require different remedies and approaches. Although the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has been forced to reduce capacity and operational effectiveness in order to stay within its meagre budget, it appears that once again the SANDF has been instructed to reduce its budget by R5 billion. This will have a direct effect on the Navy, which must reduce its budget allocation by a further R147 million. “You can imagine how many things you could do with R147 million,” Hlongwane lamented.