Minister: Navy not short of submarine crews

Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota on Tuesday rejected claims that the South African Navy only had enough qualified crew to operate one of its new state-of-the-art submarines.


“I don’t know what the source of the information is that we can only operate one submarine ... that is absolutely fallacious,” he told a media briefing at Parliament.


“Each one of the submarines we’ve got has a full complement of personnel.


“How will they be at sea, all three of them, if we only had the ability to operate one of them?” Lekota asked.


Crews had been in training even as the submarines were being built over the past few years.


Each submarine handed over to South Africa by the builders in Germany had been sailed to South Africa by South African Navy personnel trained and ready to operate them.


“And that’s why they are commissioned now and operating,” Lekota said.


In any event, now that all three submarines had been commissioned, additional crews would also be trained to operate them, he said.—Sapa


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