DECOMMISSIONING OF THE SA NAVY RESERVE UNITS
17 August 2004
The next few months will see the decommissioning of
SAS Yselstein (Simon's Town), SAS Inkonkoni (Durban), SAS Magaliesberg (Pretoria),
SAS Port Rex (East London), SAS Donkin (Port Elizabeth),
SAS Rand (Johannesburg) and SAS Unitie (Cape Town). SAS Unitie will be the last to pay off, after her centenary in February 2005.
Thus far the transformation of the SA Navy has affected mainly the full-time segment of the Navy. A number of units closed and the Fleet consolidated in Simon's Town. Continuing transformation based on both core business and finances, but with effectiveness and productivity in mind has seen further changes within the Fleet. A number of familiar vessels, such as the
SAS Fleur and SAS Outeniqua, have also been paid off.
The re-organisation of the SA Navy Reserve has now been finalized with approximately 1,500 reserve posts created within the Fleet. Some of these are 'stand alone' posts, such as Naval Control and Guidance to Shipping posts. The majority of posts, however, consist of 'piggy back', regular posts spread through the Fleet and support units. Reserve members will thus in the future be attached to full-time units - fulfilment of the Navy's 'One Force' concept.
Our Naval Gymnasium Trainees, who come from all corners of the South Africa, will form the primary feed-in for the Reserve in future. This, together with the integration of Reserves with the Fleet, will bring to an end almost 120 years of traditional volunteer units, some of which preceded the SA Navy as such.
The first recorded naval unit raised was the Port Elizabeth Naval Volunteer Brigade (1861), but a year later it was merged with a voluntary artillery unit. The first part-time Naval Unit to survive into the 20th century was the Natal Naval Volunteers, formed in Durban on 30 April 1885 and eventually becoming
Although the units will pass into history, committed reservists who joined to serve, will 'sailor on' in the Navy. Their careers and commitments will be co-ordinated by the newly formed Reserve Management Centre (RMC), managed by SSO Fleet Reserves, with both full-time and reserve members on his staff. This does not mean that the traditions, trophies and trappings of these proud units will disappear. The various Unit Associations will retain guardianship, whilst their histories and remaining trophies will be displayed and safeguarded by the SA Navy Museum.
Navy News will also follow the decommissioning of these proud units with interest and ensure that they pass into history with the dignity and recognition that they deserve.
Whilst it is always sad to close a chapter of one's history, the SA Navy with all its challenges and a modern new Fleet to integrate, has to embrace technology and modern organizational concepts and move forward.
The RMC is now active and can be contacted at the following telephone numbers:
021 787 3156
021 787 3455
021 787 3453
021 787 3469
021 787 3460
| (Cdr Stanfield)