Article by S Lt Khasuli
Photos by Mrs Karen Knight

The long awaited commissioning and naming ceremony of the last two SA Navy submarines took place in Emden, Germany on 14 Mar 07. The Commissioning Ceremony is a unique event which occurs only once in the lifetime of a ship and is therefore a major event on the naval calendar.

S102 crewmembers standing proud on parade.

Among the dignitaries from South Africa who attended the ceremony was the Deputy Minister of Defence, Mr. Mluleki George, the Ambassador of South Africa in Germany, Mr. Moss Chikane, the Sponsor of S 102, Mrs. Mittah Seperepere, the Sponsor of S 103, Mrs. Rita Ndzanga, the Chairman of the Armscor Board, Dr. Popo Molefe, the Chief of the SA Navy, Vice Adm J. Mudimu, Flag Officer Fleet, R Adm H.v.E. Bester and the Chief of Naval Staff, R Adm M. Magalefa.


Mrs M. Seperepere the sponsor of S102, SAS CHARLOTTE MAXEKE and Mrs R. Ndzanga the sponsor of S103, SAS QUEEN MODJADJI.

The Deputy Minister of Defence, Mr M. George presenting his speech.

Prior to the Deputy Minister delivering his keynote address, the programme director requested the sponsors of the submarines to unveil the names of the two sophisticated warships. The sponsor of S 102, Mrs. Mittah Seperepere unveiled the name SAS CHARLOTTE MAXEKE and the sponsor of S 103 Mrs. Rita Ndzanga unveiled the name SAS QUEEN MODJADJI.

Chief of the South African Navy, V Adm J. Mudimu, congratulating Cdr R. Shortt, the OC of SAS CHARLOTTE MAXEKE.

Some of the dignitaries present at the commissioning, Sponsor of S103, Mrs R. Ndzanga, Deputy Minister of Defence, Mr M. George, Ms Hanover, Chief of the SA Navy, V Adm J. Mudimu, Mrs Y. Mudimu, from the German Navy, R Adm Kratzmann, Flag Officer Fleet, R Adm H.v.E. Bester, Chief Naval Staff, R Adm M.H. Magalefa, Chaplain T. Gasenewe, Mr J.S. Mkhwanazi and Director Naval Acquisitions Capt A.S. Claydon – Fink.

After receiving the SAS CHARLOTTE MAXEKE Acceptance Certificate from Dr. Popo Molefe, the Chief of the Navy charged the Officer Commanding, Cdr Roland Shortt with the responsibility of commanding the submarine. He also ordered him to assume the command of SAS CHARLOTTE MAXEKE with effect from 14 March 2007. Cdr Shortt in return accepted and officially took over the command of the submarine, after which she was commissioned. Both submarines will enjoy the same experience as the SAS MANTHATISI, as they will make the same delivery voyage on own steam escorted by the SAS DRAKENSBERG.

This practice of allowing the submarines to sail on their own is important as it gives the Navy the opportunity to further test the performance and endurance of the submarines. Furthermore, it will give us the opportunity to test our ability to support the submarine during such a voyage. This will also allow us to determine how the crew copes on a long deployment, the Deputy Minister stated during his keynote address.

The S102 crew now officially the crew of SAS CHARLOTTE MAXEKE!

There will be more detailed articles on the origin of the submarine’s names on the intranet shortly.